The Chicago Bears signed a free agent wide receiver today.
No, it’s not that one you’re probably thinking about. But it’s one worth adding as a depth piece.
Bennie Fowler is signing a one-year deal with the Bears, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Fowler has spent the last four seasons with the Denver Broncos and was a member of the team’s 2015 Super Bowl championship-winning squad. His most productive season came in 2017, when he set career bests in targets (56), catches (29), receiving yards (350), and touchdowns (3).
Fowler, 26, earned a 47.9 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2017 after playing in all 16 games and on 51 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2017. He also chipped in on special teams, where his 227 snaps were the fifth most on the team. That means special teams coaching assistant Brock Olivo is quite familiar with what Fowler brings to the table.
As the Bears go about rounding out their 90-man roster, Fowler projects to find himself battling with a player like Joshua Bellamy for playing time on offense and special teams. Fowler has 45 career games under his belt and has made 56 catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns. So I wouldn’t expect the Michigan State product to be an impact receiver in this offense.
The Bears were in search of wide receiver help after not matching the offer sheet for Cameron Meredith, who is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. However, Fowler should not be seen as a Meredith replacement. Fowler is more in the mold of a player who can chip in as a receiver, while also being a productive special teams member. While we have focused on the Bears building on offense and defense, we should also remember the special teams is an important phase of the game that needs an upgrade after the last three seasons. Chicago hasn’t graded out well in that area in years, but has new leadership with Chris Tabor returning to a place where he once served as an assistant under Dave Toub.