After a season in which the Chicago Bears’ leading receiver caught just 59 passes for 614 yards and their most prolific pass-catcher was a rookie running back, GM Ryan Pace had to get creative in order to re-work the wide receivers room. And between a free agency spending spree and potentially smart investments in the draft, Chicago’s general manager did just that.
Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner ranked the receiving corps for all 32 NFL teams entering 2018, and the Bears look better now than they did at any point last season. In fact, Chicago’s group of receivers check in at 13th overall, which places the set in the top half of the league and just outside the top-10(!).
Of course, the Bears more or less had to make such a leap if quarterback Mitch Trubisky was really expected to take a jump of his own. And because the time of expecting that help to come internally had long passed, the Bears had to seek some high-end help elsewhere – and that’s exactly what happened.
Other than the Cleveland Browns (who had an exceptional offseason in their own right), no team added more wide receiver talent to its roster than the Bears this offseason. Free agent additions Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton are Week 1 starters and are expected to do the heavy lifting as far as the passing attack is concerned. Add second-round draft pick and training camp breakout star Anthony Miller to the mix, and that group becomes that much more talented compared to the collection of pass-catchers who took the field for Chicago in 2017.
And to think, this top-four doesn’t even include Javon Wims, the seventh-round pick who led the team in catches (7) and receiving yards (89) during the team’s preseason opener against the Ravens at the Hall of Fame. Wims played (and has practiced) like someone who has a lot to prove and knows he has a small window to do so.
At minimum, this revamped position group gives you a little more hope than Kendall Wright, Dontrelle Inman, Tre McBride, and Markus Wheaton did last year.
Speaking of last year: Josh Bellamy is one of the few returning wideouts, but he finds himself fighting it out for a role at the bottom of the depth chart. And then there’s the wild card, Kevin White, who’s looked good in training camp practices after being showered with support by teammates and coaches during the offseason. That he seems to have struck a bond with Trubisky can only be a good thing for his future with the team (and the league, for that matter).
To be fair, I’d have the same look when seeing the new guys after working with last year’s crew:
tfw you see the new receiver corps pic.twitter.com/AKCP0BmV7Z
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) August 6, 2018