It’s been well documented that the Bears’ top offseason priority has to be to get some weapons around Jay Cutler. With Roy Williams likely departing (good riddance!), Johnny Knox on the mend from a horrific back injury, Sam Hurd heading for the gray bar motel and Devin Hester never really living up to expectations as a consistent threat in the passing game, the Bears pretty much have Earl Bennett and Dane Sanzenbacher anchoring their wide receiver group. It’s miraculous that the Bears were 7-3 at one point in the season last year when you think about it.
The good news is that it will be a buyer’s market for wide receivers. There are plenty of options in free agency and the draft and I think the Bears should be considering any and all options, including looking under Randy Moss’ hood to see if he’s got anything left in the tank. I’m going to dream big and hope that the Bears use some of their fat salary cap space to go snag one of the top tier free agents. Let’s see who I think makes the most sense for the Bears, after the jump.
I like Bowe more than some of the other prospects because I feel like he’s more durable than some of the other top wideouts. In his 5 seasons with the Chiefs, he’s played in less than 16 games just once. At 6’2″ and 221, he’s got the size to be a #1 target the Bears covet. My apprehension with Bowe is that he comes off as lazy and has been known to disappear.
VJax is 6’5″ and 230 pounds, so he’s definitely got the size to go up and get it for Cutler. He racked up over 1100 yards last season on just 60 catches for 9 touchdowns, so you know he’s got that big play ability the Bears seek. Jackson is a little older than Bowe. I think he’ll command a higher price tag than Bowe and may price himself out of the Bears’ market.
Of the top three wide receiver prospects, Colston comes with a red flag on the injury front. In his 6 seasons with the Saints, he’s played in 16 games just twice. I am also a little skeptical if the 6’4″ Colston is more of a product of the Saints terrific system and a beneficiary of the multitude of weapons that Drew Brees has at his disposal.
When I looked up his stats, I was surprised to see that Johnson is 6’2″ and 210 pounds. He seems to be play smaller than his stature. I always get the sense that he’s a shiftier, smaller guy. He’s had a couple of 1000 yard seasons for the unheralded Bills offense. He’s shown to be a bit of bonehead, drawing celebration penalties a few times over the last couple of years. That act won’t fly with Lovie Smith, but you can’t argue with Johnson’s talent.
Jackson is probably the least likely to come to the Bears. He’s got an attitude problem and he doesn’t possess the size the Bears might be seeking for a #1 wide receiver. He’s what the Bears hoped Devin Hester could develop into as a wide receiver. He had a down year last season with 58 catches for 951 yards, pouting over a contract dispute.
Wes Welker and Mike Wallace
I lumped these two together and added them to this list to acknowledge their status as top tier wide receivers but neither of these guys is going to hit the open market but would be highly coveted if they did.
Who would you like to see the Bears target?
Check back later this week as we’ll be looking at some of the 2nd tier free agent wide receivers that might fit the Bears’ needs and might be more in line with the McCaskey’s spending habits.