Should The Bears Target A Veteran Receiver?

CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers intercepts a pass intended for Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears late in the second quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

While I liked the players selected by the Bears last month, one position that they needed to address (and didn't) was wide receiver. LB Brian Urlacher still thinks they're the best team in the NFC North, but the Bears offense is going to be held back until they give QB Jay Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz more weapons to work with. Obviously that's a good thing for Green Bay Packer fans.

WR Johnny Knox. I don't know if he's underrated, but he's a very good complementary receiver. Only catching two passes in the NFC Championship game isn't getting it done as the number one receiver. WR Earl Bennett's fine, but he had one reception or less in 6 of 18 games played last season. Moving Devin Hester to wide receiver should be considered a failure.

If the Bears are going to do something to upgrade the position, they'll have to find someone in free agency or in trade. Windy City Gridiron was generally positive about a low draft pick trade for WR Steve Smith. There were a lot of problems with the Panthers offense that weren't his fault, but Football Outsiders said he was the worst wide receiver in the NFL last season. Maybe you could also blame that on injuries and age, but trading for an old injury prone receiver doesn't sound like a good deal either. 

WCG also looked at bull riding, soccer playing, renaissance man Chad Ochocinco. Football Outsiders gave him a decidedly average ranking of No. 37 overall in 2010, which is a lot better than Smith. But obviously he brings a lot of distractions with him. Still he should be better than Smith in 2011 even if he isn't a No. 1 receiver anymore either.

In the end, while each player should have at least a couple of seasons left in them, it would cost money, and at least a draft pick to acquire them. And I'm not sure either is better than Devin Hester at this point in their careers. Maybe they'll trade for one of them and give Bear fans with some hope, but neither is going to make them a lot better next season.

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