Chicago Bears: Wide Receiver and Tight End Targets in the Offseason
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There's no question that one of the biggest issues for the Chicago Bears the last few seasons has been the talent of the wide receivers.
This year the team was led by Brandon Marshall, who was the first Bears receiver to have 100 receptions and 1,000 yards since Marty Booker in 2001. But outside of Marshall, the Bears still had to rely heavily on running back Matt Forte to help quarterback Jay Cutler and the passing attack.
While a huge focus has to be on the line, there are expectations that new head coach Marc Trestman will help build a dynamic passing offense in Chicago.
One of the first things the Bears need to do is either cut or trade Devin Hester. The experiment as a deep threat is over.
The Bears should also look forward to Johnny Knox if he is able to get back to 100 percent health after his back injury one year ago.
Maybe Wes Welker can be a possibility if the New England Patriots choose not to re-sign one of their top weapons. While Welker does drop some passes, he's still efficient with his numbers. Last season, he had 118 catches for 1,354 yards and six touchdowns. Welker would be a good slot receiver for the Bears while they continue to develop second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery.
I also heard Greg Jennings' name tossed around a bit, but I would wait to see what the Green Bay Packers decide to do with him, considering the emergence of Randall Cobb and James Jones.
Missing eight games this season and another three in 2011, Jennings has seen a decline in his numbers recently. Between the last two seasons, Jennings has 1,315 yards and 13 touchdowns. In 2010, he caught 76 passes for 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns.
While he may not be a top receiver for teams in need, the Bears can sign him and put him at the No. 2 position and put either Jeffery or Knox (if the Bears re-sign him) as a slot receiver.
Other names to consider would be Josh Cribbs and Brandon Tate.
As for tight ends, I'm sure I'm not the only Bears fan that yelled at Kellen Davis for all of the dropped passes and bad routes.
But overall, the entire group of tight ends were unable to produce yards or come up big on potential scoring drives.
There aren't a lot of tight ends on the market that excite me, unless Tony Gonzalez chooses not to retire and does not go back to Atlanta.
Fred Davis, who had a lost season in Washington, could be effective if he remains healthy, and maybe the Bears can keep an eye on Tennessee's Jared Cook or the New York Jets' Dustin Keller if they aren't offered contracts in the offseason.
In the draft, my dream pick would be Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame. But many experts have the tight end being picked up in the late first round, and Chicago will more than likely want an offensive lineman with the 20th overall pick.
Options to look at after the Bears address the immediate needs on the line include Jordan Reed out of the University of Florida and Travis Kelce out of the University of Cincinnati. Both show great athleticism and will more than likely remain available if the Bears choose to draft a tight end in the third or fourth round.
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