The fourth-round draft pick from 2017 had a breakout season in 2018.
Tarik Cohen's Hanukkah 2018 stats:
17 carries for 99 yards (5.8 YPC)
16 REC for 176 yards (11 YPC)
3 punt returns for 38 yards
1 Passing Touchdown.
— Baby Billy Freeman Stan (@JayDSarkar) December 10, 2018
During that season, Cohen was one of the best return-men in the NFC.
His performance in 2018 landed him a Pro Bowl nomination that season.
OLB – Khalil Mack
CB – Kyle Fuller
SS – Adrian Amos
FS – Eddie Jackson
Returner – Tarik Cohen
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) December 14, 2018
However, Cohen hasn’t lived up to the hype of his 2018 season.
When the Bears decided to Cohen more of a starting running back role in 2019, his numbers fell off.
But that didn’t stop the Bears from signing a three-year extension with Cohen on September 20th, 2020.
That move would prove to be bad for the Bears.
Cohen’s Injury Problems Land Him on IR
Nine days after signing Cohen to that extension, the Bears would put him on IR.
It would be the last time the Bears would see Cohen suit up in an NFL game.
Cohen tore his right ACL during the Bears’ week three win over the Falcons in 2020.
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 27, 2020
The injury forced Cohen on the season-ending IR list.
The Bears thought they could have Cohen back during the 2021 season.
However, this would not be the case for a Bears team that needed Cohen to help Justin Fields.
Cohen Misses All of the 2021 Season
The 2018 breakout season for Cohen saw him as an excellent outlet for Mitch Trubisky.
Cohen caught 71 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns.
That made Cohen a go-to guy when it came to his quarterback needing a check-down pass.
With the Bears drafting Fields, it would have made a Fields/Cohen pairing a dangerous one.
However, Fields never got a chance to have Cohen in the backfield to help him in his rookie season.
Cohen started the 2021 season on the physically unable to perform (PuP) list.
That was partly due to him having a prolonged recovery from his ACL injury.
As the 2021 season progressed, Cohen moved to the IR.
The Bears didn’t offer much of an update on Cohen’s progress throughout his rehab process.
Unable to Pass Physical: The Nail in the Coffin of Cohen’s Time in Chicago
With Cohen still under contract for 2022 and beyond, fans were looking for his return this upcoming season.
However, Cohen was unable to pass a physical on his knee.
The #Bears have released RB Tarik Cohen.
Cohen has been unable to pass a physical since he’s suffered his knee injury 2 years ago
— Bears Nation (@BearsNationCHI) March 11, 2022
That was all the Bears needed to have reason to move on from Cohen.
While Cohen gave the Bears one good season, he spent the past two seasons injured.
Paying for an injured player is something that the Bears can’t afford.
That lead to the Bears ending their contract with Cohen with an injury designation.
There Are Other Options for Chicago
The release of Cohen does hurt Chicago when looking at his return stats.
But the free agency market gives the Bears a chance to replace Cohen.
If the Bears don’t get a replacement for Cohen via free agency, they still can do so in the NFL draft.
The Khalil Mack trade has given the Bears some extra draft picks to help explore a replacement for Cohen.
Either way, the Bears are better off cutting Cohen.
They couldn’t risk another year with him on the payroll if he weren’t ever able to come back at 100%.
NEXT: Should The Bears Try To Re-Sign Allen Robinson?