NFL Free Agency: Chicago Bears Laying Low on Wide Receivers

Brett LyonsContributor IIIJuly 28, 2011

Bears fans can forget about seeing Santonio Holmes play for the Monsters of the Midway. Holmes agreed to terms with the New York Jets Wednesday.
Bears fans can forget about seeing Santonio Holmes play for the Monsters of the Midway. Holmes agreed to terms with the New York Jets Wednesday.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the crazy free-agency period the league is experiencing this year due to the lockout, free agents are flying off the shelves left and right in the early days of the new league year.

One of the most common complaints by Chicago Bears fans is that the team lacks a dominant go-to receiver and has for years.

The impressive free-agent wide receiver field was headlined by names like Santonio Holmes, Mike Sims-Walker, Santana Moss, Sidney Rice, Steve Breaston, Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards, Malcolm Floyd, Lance Moore, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith (Giants).

As to date though, none of them are Bears and reports are that the team is not targeting a single one.

While fans of the team feel this is a missing key ingredient to a potent offense, offensive coordinator Mike Martz feels otherwise. The stereotypical Martz receiver is a small speedster that excels at route running. He has never liked to have tall possession receivers who can climb the ladder and go up for jump balls against defensive backs.

The names are disappearing and doing so quickly as free agency approaches Day 3. If Chicago wanted to make a play on a big name wideout, that time has passed—Holmes, S. Moss, Moore, Rice and Breaston have already agreed to terms with teams.

Of the remaining wide receivers without contracts, the next best tier of value would come in the form of Sims-Walker, Smith and Floyd. Any of those players would look nice in navy and orange, but it seems the Bears are focusing at other positions.

A receiver would certainly be nice to add to the offense to aid Jay Cutler, but is finding a pass catcher a “need” or a “want” for the Bears?

Chicago has only two linebackers under contract, so finding some help there is crucial. The team also has been linked to talks about finding another pass-rusher at the defensive tackle spot. Corners and offensive line help are also higher priorities currently than route runners.

The Bears currently have Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett under contract as the top three receivers on the roster. The team is also trying to re-sign Rashied Davis who doubles as a special teams threat as well.

Former Bears receiver Devin Aromashodu, who had a breakout end to the 2009 season, was a disappointment in 2010 for Chicago. The Vikings signed Aromashodu earlier this week to play in Minnesota this upcoming season.

Another popular question is what will happen with the tight end position as a result of the low free-agency activity for the offense?

Reports leaked late Wednesday night said the team allowed Greg Olsen’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to send an e-mail to the other 31 NFL franchises announcing Chicago would entertain appropriate offers for the former first-round selection from Miami. Rosenhaus less than ten minutes later followed up that e-mail with another stating to please disregard his first.

Perhaps, this is the sign the Bears are shopping Olsen to help improve some of the other concerns on the team. Losing Olsen without getting another tight end or reliable wide receiver in return via trade would be a huge loss to the passing game.

Olsen is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

This odd free-agency period has shown that things can change quickly and frantically. It is clear the Bears have other needs to fill than receiver, but all that could change at a moment’s notice.

Together, all Bears fans now are quietly chanting under their breath “Come on, Jerry Angelo…”

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