For years the Bears have struggled to fill the need at the number one receiver position. They haven’t found that go to guy to compliment their quarterback. The answer to those problems could lie in this years NFL free agency class. When the San Diego Chargers didn’t put the franchise tag on wide receiver Vincent Jackson, that quickly opened up a door for the Bears to fulfill their need at the number one receiver position.
Jackson is a two time Pro-Bowler which is something the Bears haven’t had at the receiver position since 2002 when Marty Booker made the Pro-Bowl. Not to mention Jackson had 1,106 receiving yards this past season. The Bears haven’t had a 1,000 yard receiver since, well uh… Marty Booker in 2002.
Receivers have come and gone in Chicago, with players like Bernard Berrian, Muhsin Muhamad, Johnny Knox, Justin Gage, Mark Bradley and yes even Devin Hester. None of those receivers have given the Bears a true go to guy at the number one receiver position.
Since the Bears acquired quarterback Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos a few years back, they have ultimately failed to give him a solid receiving core. Last year the Bears struggled with consistency from their receivers. Roy Williams was a complete bust, the Devin Hester experiment failed (again), and Johnny Knox was to hot or cold during the season. The only receiver that has shown he can be a compliment to a true number one receiver would be Earl Bennett.
That can all change if the Bears land the free agent Jackson.
With Jackson being the Bears go to guy, it could open up success for other receivers like Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox (When he’s healthy), and even Devin Hester. Bennett could be a solid number two receiver and already has chemistry with his former Vanderbilt teammate Jay Cutler. Devin Hester still gives the Bears a deep threat, and Johnny Knox would be a serviceable number three receiver. Knox is on the road back to recovery, but it’s doubtful he will be ready for the Bears season opener.
By acquiring Jackson, the Bears can also change their draft plans as well. Many mock drafts have the Bears selecting Notre Dame receiver Malcom Floyd with their first round pick. The Bears can still go that direction, and get the big physical wide receiver to potentially compliment Jackson. They could also focus on defensive needs or re-building their offensive line with that pick. Jackson is a dynamic that changes everything.
The Bears won’t be the only team interested in Jackson, both the Redskins and Vikings are rumored to be interested in the star wide receiver. The Bears will be in a bidding war with the two teams, but in all essence could be the more favorable spot for Jackson to land.
The Bears pose a gun-slinging quarterback, a Pro-Bowl running back, and a solid defense to go along with excellent special teams. Both the Redskins and Vikings don’t look as promising as the Bears can look to Jackson. That could be a huge factor in his decision.
With free agency beginning a week from today, the action will start heating up. What the Bears need is on the table. The only question is, can they bring Jackson in?