The Bears brought in their first new receiver of the offseason when they signed former 49ers standout and Olympic long jumper Marquise Goodwin to a one-year contract Friday.
Goodwin brings a burst of speed the Bears have been searching for all offseason. He ran a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2013, tied for the fifth-fastest mark of all time, and two years ago beat other NFL players to win the 40 Yards of Gold sprint exhibition.
Goodwin, 30, is expected to compete for a roster spot as a field-stretching receiver in a corps that has remained mostly unchanged since last season. The Bears gave Allen Robinson the franchise tag last month, locking him in for one more year, and still could trade mercurial Anthony Miller by draft day. Miller, infamously, was ejected from the Bears’ playoff loss to the Saints for fighting.
They could draft a college receiver at the end of the month, too, to play behind — or alongside — Robinson and Darnell Mooney, who was a rookie standout last season.
The 5-9 Goodwin sat out last season because of coronavirus concerns. In the three previous seasons, he started 36 games for the 49ers, totaling 91 catches for 1,543 yards and seven touchdowns. His best season came in 2017, when he caught 56 passes for 962 yards. His 17.2 yards-per-catch average ranked third in the NFL that season.
The 49ers traded Goodwin to the Eagles last offseason for a swap of sixth-round draft picks, but the Eagles returned him to the 49ers last month. Because he opted out in 2020, the terms of the trade weren’t met. The 49ers sent the Eagles a seventh-round draft pick instead.
A third-round pick out of Texas, Goodwin spent his first four seasons with the Bills. He has 22 career kick returns, though none since 2015. The Bears lost return man Cordarrelle Patterson this week to the Falcons.
Goodwin won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump to reach the Olympics. In London that year, he finished 10th in the event. He was a two-time NCAA long-jump champion at Texas.