It figures that in a year when the Bears seemingly have two pretty good options at quarterback, the team lacks a talented target for either Mike Glennon or Mitch Trubisky.
With Alshon Jeffery gone in free agency and Cam Meredith lost for at least a season with a torn ACL, the Bears are without their two top receivers from a year ago.
That leaves the Bears with 2015 first-round pick Kevin White, who has 19 catches and no touchdowns in his NFL career, as their go-to receiver. Tennessee Titans castoff Kendall Wright will likely line up opposite Wright. Return specialist Deonte Thompson, aging veteran Victor Cruz and untested Tanner Gentry will battle for the third spot. Markus Wheaton is injured and not due back until mid-September.
No one at Soldier Field will mistake this receiving corps for the Greatest Show on (Bad) Turf.
It’s pretty clear that the Bears are going to have to make some sort of move at the receiving position in the next week. The Miami Dolphins are rumored to be dangling Jarvis Landry, but the Bears don’t have much to offer in return.
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, when more than 1,000 players will hit the NFL waiver wire as teams cut down from 90 to 53 players — a first for the league — the Bears just might be able to find a gem or two. Based on their record from a season ago, the Bears will have the third claim in the process behind the Browns and 49ers, two teams also in need of receivers.
Here are five wide receivers that are on the bubble and could be available for the Bears:
Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings: The 27-year-old wideout could be the odd man out in a solid receiving corps in Minnesota. After playing in every game and averaging 440 yards per season from 2013 through 2015, Wright didn’t see the field much last season because of a leg injury. Look for the Vikings to go with the younger Laquon Treadwell.
Aaron Dobson, Arizona Cardinals: Four years ago, the New England Patriots thought enough of Dobson to make him the 59th pick of the NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Dobson looked like another great find by the Patriots, making 37 catches for 519 yards and four touchdowns. Since then, though, the injury-riddled receiver has just 16 catches and missed the entire 2016 season. He’s going to have a tough time sticking with the Cardinals, who are loaded at the position. At 6-3, 210, Dobson makes for an enticing target.
Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers: A year ago at this time, Coates was starting for the Steelers. Heading into their final preseason game this week, the 2015 third-round pick, finds himself fighting for a roster spot among a group of talented receivers. After starting the first five games last season, Coates was slowed by injuries. It didn’t help matters when the Steelers drafted JuJu Smith-Schuster out of USC in the second round. Coates, who will be battling Justin Hunter for the final receiving spot, would provide the Bears a much-needed deep threat.
Max McCaffrey, Green Bay Packers: If you’re looking to find a good receiver to pick up, the Packers are loaded with several and will have to cut one. McCaffrey has all sorts of football pedigree. His father, Ed, played 13 in the NFL as a receiver. Brothers Christian (Panthers), Dylan (Michigan) and Luke (high school) are all playing. The Packers like McCaffrey but they also like 2017 late draft picks DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre. Though they won’t offer much in experience, any one of these three could be an upgrade for the Bears. Draft expert Tony Pauline said this about Dupre, who played for LSU: “If seventh-round selection Malachi Dupre ever returns to the form he displayed in 2015, he will be the steal of the draft.”
Mike Thomas, Los Angeles Rams: Why would anyone want a receiver off the Rams much less one that has to sit out the first four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs? Well, Thomas has shown flashes of talent, but it might not be enough to stick on a much-improved receiving corps, which leader Tavon Austin called the best and most versatile he’s seen since being drafted in 2013.
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