When Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace decided to trade Brandon Marshall to the New York Jets, a big void was left at wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery, who will now take the responsibility of the No. 1 receiver this season in his final year of his contract, needs some help.
Pace has already tried to address the need, signing Eddie Royal to a 3-year, $15-million deal, but he’s seen as a good fit to be Chicago’s slot receiver. The Bears have Marquess Wilson on the roster, who seems to always have buzz surrounding him in training camp since he was drafted in 2013, but was set back by a broken clavicle last year. He can be an option as the No. 2 receiver, but Chicago still lacks depth at the position.
Because of the lack of depth at wide receiver, several recent mock drafts have Pace selecting either Amari Cooper or Kevin White with the No. 7 overall pick. Even if Pace chooses to address a different position at No. 7, this year’s draft is littered with talent at wide receiver.
ESPN Chicago’s Michael Wright, believes Pace will address the wide receiver position during the draft, but does say if Pace decides to pass he’ll have some options in free agency to pick from.
My guess is the Bears will look first at the draft to try to bring in a complement to Alshon Jeffery, who is entering the final year of his contract…So I’d look to one of the aforementioned guys as a backup plan just in case the Bears don’t sufficiently fill the need at receiver through the draft. Most of those veterans I mentioned will probably sign after the draft, perhaps as late as June, when teams start looking to fill out the rosters headed into training camp.
So, what free agent wide receivers can come in and take some of the pressure off of Jeffery? Wright provided five names, the first of which has had an impressive career but is getting up there in age.
Career Stats: 1,070 REC, 14,345 YDS, 82 TDs
2014 Stats: 64 REC, 779, 2 TDs
After a torn ACL in 2013 that forced Wayne to miss nine games, he returned last year and showed he was healthy playing 15 games. At 36-years-old Wayne’s time in the NFL may be over, but Pace may decide to take a flyer on him, hoping he can mentor the rest of the wide receivers and maybe even get a little production from him. If anything, it’ll be a one-year deal, a trend Pace has stuck with so far in free agency.