WR Kenny Stills, Dolphins – This move really only makes sense if the Bears sign Glennon or draft a power arm like Mahomes or Kizer. Assuming the Bears let Alshon Jeffery leave in free agency, it leaves them without a legitimate deep threat on offense.
Kevin White does have the potential to be that guy, considering that he ran a 4.37 40-yard-dash just two offseasons ago. Though after two significant leg injuries, who knows what White would run now. Cameron Meredith had a breakout season, but he has just average speed and isn’t someone defenses are going to game plan for yet.
Stills, on the other hand, has elite speed (4.32) and has already proven to be a legit NFL deep threat with a league-leading 20.0 yards per catch as a rookie and 17.3 YPC last season. He has some warts, mainly too many dropped passes, but did have 42 catches for 726 yards and nine touchdowns last season at just 24 years old.
Drops are a concern with just a 51.9% catch rate last year, but he’s caught over 64% of passes thrown his way in two of his four seasons (including 74.9% as a rookie). In comparison, Alshon Jeffery only caught 55% of passes thrown his way last year and has never been above 60.1% in his career.
The addition of a burner like Stills would open things up not only for White and Meredith but would force safeties to pay attention to the deep part of the field and limit the eight-man fronts that Jordan Howard saw for most of the 2016 season.
If the Bears are going to add a big-armed quarterback like Glennon or a rookie with similar arm strength, then it makes a lot of sense to add a wide receiver who can actually get open deep. Stills is only 24 years old and already has 20 touchdown receptions. He’s far from a finished product, but with his speed, upside, and two years proof of reliable hands, Stills has shown that he has the talent to be a dangerous NFL starter.
Stills won’t be cheap with his price tag rumored to be in the $10-$12M range, but he will be cheaper than Alshon Jeffery and may be a better fit for a quarterback like Glennon, Mahomes, or a late round option like Davis Webb.
Predicted salary: 4 years, $44M