Brandon Marshall is 6’4”, Alshon Jeffery is 6’4” and Marquess Wilson is 6’3”. When it comes to the Bears’ wide receiver core, size definitely matters. The big receivers are terrific but the Bears could use a little guy to compliment the trio.
If there’s a weakness in the receiving core it’s in the slot. The Bears don’t have a quick receiver who can add presence underneath. It’s always valuable for a quarterback to have a smaller slot receiver who is a matchup nightmare.
Look at what Peyton Manning and Tom Brady has to work with. Wes Welker had 73 receptions and 10 touchdowns in a loaded offense last season. Julian Edelman took over for Welker in New England and had 105 receptions. Both players are the league’s premier slot receivers.
Greg Jennings was terrific for Green Bay and the Bears saw what Randall Cobb can do up close and personal. A top level offense features the big play receivers on the outside, a solid pass catching tight end, reliable running back, strong offensive line, the quarterback to get them the ball and the slot receiver.
Imagine the Bears offense with a smaller player who can work underneath. Marshall and Jeffery are now freed up to make bigger plays down field, Matt Forte becomes more of a matchup nightmare and Martellus Bennett gets single coverage. Most importantly, Jay Cutler will only benefit from having another weapon.
This new slot receiver doesn’t have to be the caliber of Welker or Edelman. Both players are elite and want to be paid that way. There are good options in free agency for the Bears to go after who won’t break the bank.
Nate Burleson, Dexter McCluster and Andre Roberts are unrestricted free agents who could catch the Bears’ eye. Lance Moore might be a salary cap casualty in New Orleans. Moore has history with Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.
Yesterday we told you the Bears will not draft a receiver. That doesn’t mean they won’t bring in a guy or two as a rookie free agent. Willie Snead out of Ball State will likely go undrafted and he’s the perfect player to sign the day after the draft. Jalen Saunders out of Oklahoma is another option.
There’s a good chance Earl Bennett will get cut to make way for Marquess Wilson. If they do that they can bring in a smaller slot player who can split time with Wilson. It will take Wilson some time to develop and the Bears can use a veteran to step in and take some pressure off the young man.
Who do you think the Bears should go after? Do you think they should sign a guy or use a draft pick on a receiver? Maybe you think the Bears don’t need a receiver at all. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.