The cyber mailbag has been getting stuffed in e-mail and on my Twitter account.
Are the Bears in play for Terrell Owens?
My initial take on T.O. to the Bears is NO, but keep in mind that the N in NFL stands for never rule anything out.
Before we go any further, let’s get to the genesis of these e-mails and the rampant speculation that is all over the Internet. ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculated that the Buffalo Bills could look to trade Owens before the NFL’s trading deadline, which is next Tuesday. Schefter’s short item starts out: “About a week before the Oct. 20 NFL trade deadline, the Buffalo Bills are not shopping wide receiver Terrell Owens.” Then, he goes on to explain why it would be a good idea for the Bills, who could lay off roughly $4 million of the $6.5 million contract Owens signed with Buffalo this season.
The Bills are going nowhere in 2009, only to an offseason rebuilding with a coach not named Dick Jauron, but they built energy in their club and fan base by surprisingly signing Owens after he was cast off in Dallas. Do they want to admit failure and deal away the one player who spurred ticket sales? You’ve got to keep in mind the issues Owens caused in Dallas and before that in Philadelphia when you consider the idea of adding him to a locker room that Lovie Smith likes right now, one that is calm, veteran and clear of pretty much anything in the way of controversy. A ripple in the Bears locker room occurs when tight end Desmond Clark announces on his Internet radio show that he has a fractured rib. That’s controversy for the Bears.
Owens has 12 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown for a miserable Bills’ offense. He turns 36 in December, and he simply doesn’t get off press coverage at the line of scrimmage like he did before. Scouts will tell you he doesn’t have to be defended the way he did three or four years ago. If the production of the Bears’ wide receivers has not been a surprise to the team, then it has been a surprise to everyone not residing at Halas Hall. Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett are all on pace to have more than 750 yards receiving, something no trio in franchise history has accomplished. Is any receiver going to the Pro Bowl? Probably not. But the Bears are far ahead of where many upset they didn’t swing a trade for Anquan Boldin figured they would be.
Owens is a big target at 6-3, 224 pounds, and he could probably excel with Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. Cutler likes big targets, and he’s not the least bit surprised that Kyle Orton has found success with Brandon Marshall in Denver. Throw it up for a big receiver and watch him go get it. Cutler likes big receivers and it’s one reason he took to Devin Aromashodu in training camp and preseason. Owens would offer that dimension to the offense, one it really has not been getting from tight end Greg Olsen, who was supposed to have a breakout season.
What could you get Owens for? Schefter speculated a mid-round draft pick would do the trick. He’s probably right, but only if the Bills and owner Ralph Wilson Jr. decides to peddle Owens. There are probably few teams Owens would be more excited to join. The Bears have proven they will think outside the box too. They did lengthy homework on Plaxico Burress before it became evident he would be spending the 2009 season behind bars and not in shoulder pads. They found Burress was his own worst enemy at times, but not necessarily a divisive force for the team. Can the same thing be said about Owens? Do you think Smith wants to invite him on board? It’s certainly not a move you’d instantly see general manager Jerry Angelo making. He’s averse to trading his draft picks for just about anyone not named Cutler. But when he has dealt draft picks, he’s done pretty well. Remember, the Bears nabbed Pro Bowl special teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo for a draft pick. He traded a draft pick in a package to get defensive end Adewale Ogunleye.
I’m not sure this is a trade the Bears make even if the Bills are in the mood to deal. Just in case, get your popcorn ready, and stay tuned.
Have at it.