ESPN, along with several other sources, have confirmed that the Chicago Bears are reportedly interested in New York Jets free agent wideout Brad Smith.
No, no, no, that can't be right. The Bears, who already have a makeshift group of receivers made up of converted kick returners, defensive backs and the like, can't seriously be considering going after another project wide receiver who had a total of four catches for less than 50 yards last season...can they?
I'm not sure how much stock to take in this report, considering that teams can't even begin talking to players at all until tomorrow morning, but we all know how well teams follow the rules in professional sports, right?
But the fact that it has even surfaced has me scared that the Bears, who made an excellent splash in free agency last year, have reverted to their old blundering ways.
And it's not the fact that the Bears are looking to go cheap at a key offensive position (like they usually do) that bothers me. It's the fact that Brad Smith is not even a full-blown receiving threat!
You're basically talking about Devin Hester part two, with a 6'2", 212-pound frame. He has very limited receiving experience, was a quarterback in his collegiate career, and has bounced around to different positions with the Jets.
This is not the receiver you primarily go after when you have serious money to spend (nearly $18 million in guaranteed cash to hand out after signing rookies and their own key free agents) and you desperately need a number one wideout to help Jay Cutler out.
I'm a big fan of the Bears pursuing Sidney Rice, but I understand that they may not be able to land him (though they should have no problem competing with any offer he may receive).
But to go from Rice to a guy like Brad Smith, when there are several other options that are leaps and bounds better at the receiver position, is inexcusable. Santonio Holmes? Braylon Edwards? Malcolm Floyd? Heck, I'd even take a Plaxico Burress or a Chad Ochocinco over Brad Smith.
This is my plea to Jerry Angelo and the Bears: You sold the farm for Cutler, and he deserves the chance to have an elite wideout to throw to. You have seen what he can do with a big, dominant receiver in Brandon Marshall—there's no excuse to not give him the same here, in one of the largest sports markets in the country.
Rice won't cost you a draft pick, and will probably cost you less guaranteed money over time than a first-round-caliber receiver (which Rice already is) would, and you weaken a division opponent at the same time as giving your young franchise QB the possibility of an elite receiver for years to come.
You have already proven you can be players in free agency with Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor; show us one more time. You have, at best, three or four more years of a dominant defense that can win a championship. Make the smart move and give them the offense they have always deserved, and to do that, you need a number one wideout.
No more projects. No more experiments. No more bargains. No more half-a** deals.
Go get Jay Cutler a wide receiver that he can dominate with, and cash in on those two first-rounders you gave up two years ago to get him.
The answer is NOT Brad Smith.