2019 Offseason Outlook: Wide Receiver is Finally a Strength ... Now What?

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2019 Offseason Outlook: Wide Receiver is Finally a Strength … Now What?

Chicago Bears

The Bears’ 2018 season was equal parts successful and fun, though it’s finally time to move on. But before we get right to 2019, let’s take a position-by-position look at the roster – as presently constructed – to find out what’s in store for the offseason and upcoming year. 

Previously: Quarterbacks, Edge defenders/pass rushers, Running backs, Defensive backs, Special teams

Today: Wide receivers

WHO’S UNDER CONTRACT?

The top of the receiving depth chart is as good as it has ever been for the Bears in the modern era of football.

Allen Robinson didn’t put up a 1,000-yard season, but he had a solid year (especially for a player one year removed from an ACL injury) and saved his best for last with a breakout game in the postseason while dealing with injured ribs. Taylor Gabriel proved to be more than a gadget player as he set career highs in catches and receiving yards. Anthony Miller’s rookie season was limited due to an injured shoulder, but he still found a way to haul in seven touchdown passes. That trio makes for a good core.

There is depth at the position, too. Seventh-round pick Javon Wims could make a case for more snaps in 2019. Tanner Gentry, Cyril Grayson, and Jordan Williams-Lambert are in the mix on reserve/future contracts.

The receiving corps Mitch Trubisky throws to is viewed as a strength entering next season, which is something to cherish knowing that few quarterbacks in franchise history have had that luxury.

EXITING FREE AGENTS

Joshua Bellamy appeared to have carved a niche as a special teams standout and a No. 4 receiver last season with the Bears. He played on a restricted free agent tag and could seek a bigger role (not to mention pay day) with another team if he doesn’t return to Chicago. Kevin White never lived up to his draft status during his four-year stint with the Bears, but he showed some grit in 2018 as he worked his way onto the field after an injury-plagued start to his career.

WHO COULD BE CUT BEFORE THE LEAGUE NEW YEAR BEGINS?

There aren’t any obvious cut candidates in this position group. But as we discussed in last week, contracts could be restructured to create additional salary cap space. Using spotrac.com’s roster management tool, restructuring Robinson’s deal could create $4,547,500 in cap savings. That’s not insignificant.

HOW CAN THE BEARS ADDRESS/UPGRADE THE POSITION?

GM Ryan Pace did a ton of heavy lifting last year to sign Robinson and Gabriel, then use the team’s 2019 second-round pick in order to draft Anthony Miller in 2018. All that work helped lead Trubisky to take the much-ballyhooed second-year leap. Moving forward, the Bears could look to fortify the depth at the position by signing a player who could contribute as a kick returner in an attempt to bolster one of the roster’s few weaknesses. Or Pace could pull a rabbit out of his hat (again) and trade for Antonio Brown. Hey, it’s not that crazy of an idea and there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for his services just yet.

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)


Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.