Boomer covered internal replacement options for Marquees Wilson earlier today and now I am looking at external options the Bears could add for receiver depth while Wilson is out with a broken clavicle. As of this morning there still wasn’t a definitive timetable for Wilson’s return. I have heard everything from 4-6 weeks to 2-3 months. If his recovery is closer to the former it doesn’t make sense for the Bears to look externally for a replacement, but if it’s the latter then we are talking about the possibility of Wilson missing half the season. The Bears are constructed to win now and leaving a gaping hole at the 3rd receiver spot for 8 weeks doesn’t make much sense. Of course there aren’t a bunch of players available that can come in and produce right away, but if the Bears are looking externally they have a few options: make a trade, sign a current free agent, or wait until rosters are trimmed down and see if they can find a veteran cap casualty or a young guy who couldn’t crack a talented roster. Here are a couple of players from each option:
Denarius Moore, Raiders (6’0, 194) – Currently listed with the 3rd team on the Raiders depth chart, the 25 year-old WR seems to be on the outs in Oakland. Moore, who is going into his 4th year in the league, has been touted as a potential #1 WR for the Raiders the last two seasons but has been inconsistent and put up mediocre numbers. Despite not living up to the #1 WR hype, Moore has been pretty solid considering the Raiders QB problems and that he is often matched up against opponents top CBs. Moore has averaged 48 catches, 718 yards, and 6 TDs over the last two seasons. I’m sure the Bears would be satisfied with that production out of their 3rd WR. Moore, a former 5th round pick, would probably cost the Bears a 4th-5th round draft pick as compensation but if the Bears are truly going for it this year that shouldn’t be a prohibitive cost.
TJ Graham, Bills (5’11, 188) - Another receiver running with the 3rd team early in camp, I think Graham is in more danger of being outright released than Moore is. The former 3rd round pick is going into his 3rd season and hasn’t come close to the production expected out of him. He only had 23 receptions last year for 361 yards and 2 TDs, but as Buffalo’s #2/#3 WR Graham was on the field for the majority of the Bills offensive plays. He has struggled in training camp this year as well getting called out for dropping too many passes. Graham will get a chance somewhere if he is released because of his blazing speed; He is a legitimate deep threat with 4.3 wheels which is something the Bears don’t really have in their receiver group besides potentially Chris Williams. I think Buffalo’s awful QB play could have something to do with Graham’s lack of production and maybe a change of scenery, lower expectations, and a good QB can unlock his potential. It probably won’t cost the Bears more than a late day 3 pick for Graham since he is on the roster bubble already.
Chris Givens, Rams (5’11, 198) – A similar player to Graham in that he was a 3rd round pick, has the speed to be an elite deep threat, and has failed to play up to expectations so far in his career. Givens was a popular breakout pick last season after 698 receiving yards and 3 TDs his rookie year, but his play regressed in his 2nd season and he finished with 129 less yards and zero TDs. Givens is claiming that he was dealing with an ankle injury last season which slowed him down, but based on his current place on the depth chart (3rd team) the Rams seem close to giving up on Givens. I hear that the last WR spot will go to either Givens or Austin Pettis. Which ever player loses that battle may be getting a call from the Bears.