Of all of the many needs that the Bears had heading into the offseason the one that is considered to be one of the most important is the wide receiver position. Fans saw just how ineffective one of the better constructed offenses can be when the wide receivers run the wrong routes or cut them off too short. Granted, it was the first year in the new offense for all of these guys and there was a lot to learn (perhaps more than any other offense) but their lack of understanding and mechanical issues made it a difficult year for quarterback Jay Cutler and the passing offense to function properly.
The question as to whether or not the Bears need a wide receiver is a simple one. Of course they do but the bigger question is can they get someone that can make an impact? Needless to say, the Bears don’t need a second or third wide receiver. They need a number one guy and need one in 2011.
The NFL lockout has imposed problems on every single team and player this offseason and it’s not known just how things will shake out with free agency. Depending on who you listen to, any kind of free agency that would come out of the lockout would be limited to just those players that had six or more years of service seriously limiting the talent that would be available.
The Bears could also be victim to what is known as the final eight rule which ends up being a restriction on the number of players that a playoff team signs in free agency. The Bears, for example, would not be able to sign any unrestricted free agents until one of theirs was signed. It’s a one for one thing and with the quality of unrestricted free agents that the Bears have on the team now it may be a while before they are able to sign any unrestricted free agents.
And with the better free agents going quickly the Bears are going to miss out on some good talent.
The only other option would be for the Bears to make an attempt to sign some restricted free agents. They have the money to do that but signing restricted free agents requires giving up some draft picks and the Bears may not be willing to do that.
Working out a trade could also be a possibility but after the fiasco in the first round with the Baltimore Ravens, who is going to trust the Bears to follow through?
Chicago has to get someone in at the number one wide receiver position not only to catch passes from Cutler but to also stretch the defense and make it so that other wide receivers can catch passes. There is no one threat on the team that makes defenses have to game plan around them (even Devin Hester) and without that piece of the puzzle the Bear’s passing offense will not work like they want it to.
Whatever happens with free agency will definitely have a big impact on what the Bears are able to do at the wide receiver position and if they can’t do anything it’s going to be another long year on offense in Chicago.