Royal released, two Chicago Bears draft picks signed

The Chicago Bears said goodbye to four veterans and signed two of their draft picks Thursday.

North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen, a fourth-round pick, and Kutztown (Pennsylvania) offensive lineman Jordan Morgan, a fifth-rounder, are the first of the Bears' five draft picks to agree to terms.

All five are expected to be at Halas Hall for the Bears' rookie minicamp that runs Friday through Sunday and also will include a few handfuls of undrafted rookies.

Nine-year veteran wide receiver Eddie Royal was released and three other veterans - defensive lineman Will Sutton, offensive lineman Cornelius Edison and fullback Paul Lasike - were waived.

Royal signed a three-year, $15 million deal (including $10 million guaranteed) as part of general manager Ryan Pace's first group of unrestricted free agents. The nine-year veteran never came close to living up to his contract in two injury-plagued seasons.

In 2015, Royal caught 37 passes but managed just 238 yards, a 6.4-yard average and 1 touchdown. He played in just nine games, all starts, because of ankle and knee injuries.

Last year Royal caught 33 passes for 369 yards, an 11.2-yard average, and 2 touchdowns. He again played in nine games but started just once. He missed five games with a sprained knee and was on injured reserve for the final two games with a toe injury. Royal also had 20 punt returns for 182 yards (9.1-yard average), including last year's 65-yard touchdown.

Royal's release saves the Bears $5 million in salary-cap space and in actual, since he already had been paid all of his guaranteed money.

Sutton was a third-round draft pick in 2014, the final season for general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman. The Arizona State product started 18 games and played in 36 before missing the final seven games in 2016 with an ankle injury. He had 82 career tackles but no sacks and was not a good fit in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's base 3-4 defense.

Edison was undrafted out of Portland State in 2015 and spent part of that season on the Bears' practice squad. He played briefly on special teams in six games last season.

Lasike also was undrafted and spent part of the 2015 season on the Bears' practice squad. He played in 10 games last season, including three starts, and was primarily a lead blocker, although the Bears rarely employed a two-back alignment. Lasike rushed three times for 8 yards and caught 1 pass for 3 yards.

The Bears also signed 13 undrafted free agents who will participate at this weekend's rookie minicamp, including Northern Illinois running back Joel Bouagnon and Ball State basketball player Franko House, who will try to make a conversion to tight end.

The others: Old Dominion defensive lineman Rashaad Coward, Minnesota linebacker Hendrick Ekpe, Wyoming wide receiver Tanner Gentry, San Jose linebacker Isaiah Irving, Florida International offensive lineman Dieugot Joseph, James Madison offensive lineman Mitch Kirsch, Utah kicker Andy Phillips, Coastal Carolina linebacker Alex Scearce, Oklahoma State wide receiver Jhajuan Seales, Florida State fullback Freddie Stevenson and Florida State wide receiver Levonte Whitfield.

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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