Kevin White: What Will it Take to Earn a New Contract?

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Kevin White
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Kevin White /

The Chicago Bears addressed their need at the WR position this off-season with a number of high profile signings.  But what will it take for Kevin White to earn a new contract to remain with the team?

After the signings of Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, it appeared that Kevin White would have to play the third fiddle for the Chicago Bears.  Then the Bears jumped up to grab Anthony Miller in the second round.  They also then went back to the position again in the seventh with Javon Wims.  That leaves even the most ardent White supporters wondering, just what is his long term status with the team?

To answer this question, we will look at three areas White must address.  These areas are critical in his quest to secure a second contract.  They are: Availability, Advancement, and Achievement.

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears


No big surprise here.  The first hurdle that White must overcome is his injury history.  The fact is any games missed by White at this point in his career only drive him further out of town.  The team is not expecting anything from him.  They have signed multiple insurance policies.  They are determined to ensure that if he doesn’t meet their expectations, it won’t devastate the team again.

If White can’t play at least 14 games this season, it’s a good bet that he’ll play in a new uniform next season.  That puts a lot of pressure on him to play through small injuries and to be available, but it is simply a reality in today’s game.  Players can not perform if they cannot be available.


White’s game film shows a number of deficiencies in his pro skill set.  This should surprise no one as he has hardly had time to develop them.  His route running is suspect.  Therefore he creates very little separation.  Consequently, he has to make catches with DBs all over him.  He has only 21 catches on 40 targets for a 52.5% catch rate.  By comparison, Josh Bellamy has 43 catches on 84 targets for a 51.19% catch rate.  Their catch percentage is almost identical.  That’s not an impressive comparison for a former seventh overall pick.  He needs to run better routes to create space in order to catch and secure the ball.

He also has generated only 6 targets per game in his career.  Kendall Wright last year created only marginally worse at 5.6 targets a game.  Wright was subsequently shown the door quite unceremoniously this last off-season.  Another bad comparison for What that shows the impact of his inability to separate at the NFL level.  If there isn’t an open window, a smart QB is looking at his next read.

In order to stick around, especially in a West Coast Offense, White is going to have to learn to find the holes in the coverage.  He’s going to have to learn how to bend and stem routes properly to give Mitchell Trubisky some open throwing windows.  He got away with being an amazing athlete in college, now he’ll have to learn the nuances of the pro game.  He’ll also have to do it under the gun while hearing the clock tick.  Tick-Tock… Tick-Tock…

If White cannot raise his targets per game to at least the 7.5-8 range, he’ll have a hard time making a case for the Bears to bring him back next year.  He then has to catch them, and then has to make something happen.  It’s a lot to expect, but that is the simple reality that he faces.

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The NFL is a bottom line business.  If you don’t think so, I’ve got a number of examples that start with Mike Ditka and Lovie Smith.  The first expectation is to win, and once you get that, it’s to win it all.  Individually, performance goals are set by your draft status and positional ranking.  For example, a number one receiver needs 80-100 catches for 1,000-1,200 yards and 7+ TDs.  This is the production expected from someone who holds that title.

As a number three receiver, 40-50 catches for 450-600 yards and 3+ TDs is a good starting point.  This is the type of stat line that White needs just to have a chance to be back given his injury history and competition.  If What really expects a solid prove it deal again next year, he’ll have to produce more than this however.  If he wants to be back on more than a veterans minimum, he’ll need to target 60-70 catches for 800-900 yards and 6+ TDs.  Yes, those are number two WR numbers, but that’s the reality of it.  White is going to have to out produce players who have proven to be healthy as well as productive.

Again, it’s a tall order, but if White is in fact the player that the Bears thought he was when the drafted him, it won’t be a problem.


A successful season for Kevin White could be defined in many ways.  Yet if that definition includes a return trip to Chicago on more than a veteran’s minimum (if at all), then this is what it will need to look like:

16 Games, 70 Catches for 850 Yards and 5 TDs on 7.8 targets per game with a 56% catch rate.

Anything less than that and I think that White will be wearing a new uniform as Anthony Miller steps into the third receiver position in a slot/outside rotation with Gabriel.

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