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With the start of free agency right around the corner (March 10th), I’m going to be breaking down a few free agent options for the Chicago Bears at every position. You can access the positions I’ve covered so far via the links below and will be covering tight ends today.
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The Bears only have one free agent wide receiver, Josh Morgan, and he is not likely to be brought back. Morgan was given multiple chances to win the 3rd WR job after Marquess Wilson got hurt and Santonio Holmes sucked, but Morgan couldn’t earn the job. I can’t think of one reason to bring Morgan back and would be shocked if anyone can. As part of this series I will be listing the Bears internal free agents at each position with links to posts I did earlier this off-season on whether the Bears should keep that specific player.
Below I will be listing free agent wide receivers who I think could help the Bears in 2015 and beyond. These aren’t necessarily rankings of the top free agents at the position, but players I think the Bears should target based on scheme fit, salary, and future potential. I’ve broken each position down to four parts: the big ticket signings, starters, young players with starter potential and depth players. At the end of the post, I’ve made my recommendation on which players I think the Bears should target at the wide receiver position.
Free Agent Breakdown:
Wide Receiver – Bears Free Agents
Wide Receiver – Current Situation
The Bears currently are set at the top three receiver spots with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Marquess Wilson. There is absolutely zero depth after those three though as we saw last year. When one or two of those players were hurt at the same time, the Bears offense was significantly impacted. There are also plenty of rumors that Marshall is going to get released or traded which would drastically increase the Bears need for more talent at the WR position.
The Bears have three talented receiving options, but they are all similar players. All three are tall with good, but not great speed and none of the three are sharp route runners. The Bears could use a 4th receiver with either legit deep speed or a guy that runs precise routes and can get open consistently. Too often Jay Cutler was forced to throw a perfect pass in a small window because his receivers couldn’t get separation.
Wide Receiver – Free Agent Options
* From what I’ve heard so far both Dez Bryant (Cowboys) and Demaryius Thomas (Broncos) are locks to be given the franchise tag and taken off the free agent market.
Randall Cobb – 24(!), Packers (5’10 | 191): It’s doubtful the Packers let Cobb go, but he would be a great for the Bears. A shifty slot receiver who is the exact opposite of the three very similar options the Bears have now in Marshall, Jeffrey, and Bennett. The Bears need someone fast enough to get open underneath and give Jay Cutler a reliable safety-valve receiver. Randall Cobb would be absolutely perfect for the Bears (or any team really) and would make their biggest rival worse. On paper it might be the greatest free agent move in Bears history, which almost guarantees that it won’t happen.
Cobb is coming off of a season with 91 catches, 1,287 yards and 12 TDs. He’s one of the ten best receivers in the NFL and would be a perfect fit across from Alshon Jeffrey. The Bears may have to trade or release Brandon Marshall to make room for Cobb’s pending hefty contract. If that’s what it takes, then the Bears should drop Marhsall and get it done. Jay Cutler needs a guy that can consistently get open and there may be no better receiver in the league at creating space than Randall Cobb. It’s a pipe dream, but I’m not giving up yet.
None: There are no players in this category better than what the Bears already have on their roster