Bears Depth Chart: Wide Receiver

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Bears training camp finally underway, I’m finishing up my breakdowns of the Bears depth chart at every position. I’ll give a high-level overview of each position, highlight potential battles for both starting roles and roster spots and point out a few players to watch.

I’ve already covered the depth chart at most positions:

Today I will be covering the Bears depth chart at wide receiver. It’s a position that was a disaster for the Bears last season as they lost Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White, Eddie Royal, and Marquess Wilson at times to injury. For most of the 2nd half of the season the Bears receiver core consisted of guys like Marc Mariani, Cam Meredith, Josh Bellamy, and Deonte Thompson.

Injuries decimated the Bears receiving core last year, but they’ve upgraded their depth this season and for now at least most of the receiver group is healthy. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Most of the same talent is back at receiver, but 2015 1st round pick Kevin White is healthy, the Bears did add a receiver in the draft (Daniel Braverman), a converted QB (B.J. Daniels), and a trio of undrafted rookies (Derek Keaton, Kieran Duncan, Darrin Peterson). There is enough talent at the position for the Bears to have one of the best wide receiver groups in the league, the top of the depth chart just needs to stay healthy this year.

Depth Chart: Wide Receiver

Overview:

Alshon Jeffery has been the biggest story of the Bears offseason with rumors vacillating between Jeffery signing a long-term deal with the Bears or not wanting to stay in Chicago after this year. As it turned out, Jeffery and the Bears didn’t agree to a long-term extension and he will play this year under the franchise tag for $14.6M.

The Bears will have a chance to franchise Jeffery again next season but at $17.5M, there is slim to no chance the Bears would be willing to make him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL. So in essence, Jeffery is playing the 2016 season as a contract audition for the rest of the NFL.  That could be good news in the short-term for the Bears, as Jeffery should be motivated to play through the minor injuries that kept him sidelined last year (though he’s already missed a few practices with hamstring injuries). A motivated and healthy Jeffery has the talent to be the best WR in the NFL.

Across from Jeffery will be last year’s #7 overall pick Kevin White, who missed all of last season with a shin injury. White is reportedly healthy and should face 1-1 coverage all season which will give him the chance to either prove he can be the Bears next #1 WR or that they need to do whatever possible to re-sign Jeffery in 2017.

Eddie Royal is back, but already hurt after one week of training camp (concussion). Those are the top three receivers on the Bears depth chart, but they all have serious question marks. The depth after the top three is a bunch of even more questionable receiving options like Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, Daniel Braverman, Deonte Thompson, Cam Meredith, B.J. Daniels, and a group of undrafted rookies. Let’s hope for better health in 2016.

Next: Position Battles (Starters)