The beat goes on for what has been a busy day of Chicago Bears news:
Source close to former Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel tells me he's signing with the Chicago Bears
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) March 13, 2018
Atlanta Falcons free agent receiver Taylor Gabriel is the new Albert Wilson, a receiver with speed to burn and upside to dream on, and he is signing with the Bears. The deal is expected to be a four-year pact, according to Andrew Hawkins, who was a teammate of Gabriel’s while with the Cleveland Browns.
Gabriel spent two years with the Browns before being cut in 2016 and moving on to the Falcons. He had a breakout year of sorts upon joining Atlanta with 35 catches, 579 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns (six receiving, one rushing). He was an integral part of a Falcons offense that was among the league’s most potent as he grew into a big-play threat that Matt Ryan could target when Julio Jones was covered. Gabriel’s production took a hit in 2017, but that was par for the course for an Atlanta team dealing with a Super Bowl hangover and a transition with a new offensive coordinator.
Gabriel was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent out of Abilene Christian University, is undersized (listed at 5-8, 167 pounds on his Pro Football Reference profile), and worked his way up the depth chart and into a niche role with his prior team. Moving forward, Gabriel is expected to play a more prominent role in the Bears’ offense.
So in the end, a version of the Bears’ dream scenario played out with the team adding a certified No. 1 wide receiver (Allen Robinson), a versatile pass-catching tight end (Trey Burton), and a speedy receiver who with experience and upside (Gabriel).
Taking these deals for what they’re worth … and it’s fair to say the Bears have addressed three of their biggest offensive concerns during the first wave of free agency. Well done, Ryan Pace. Well done.