Dontrelle Inman Trade Bolsters a Struggling Bears Offense
On Wednesday, Adam Schefter reported that the Chicago Bears traded a 2018 seventh round draft pick to the Los Angeles Chargers in return for wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.
The trade bolsters a Bears wide receiving group that has been viewed as the worst from a talent and production standpoint. Inman has been injured the majority of the season limiting him to just two catches for nine yards in four games.
His experience and size will help the Bears offense in more ways than for the rest of the season.
The trade comes at the right time as it is safe to assume that Inman will be inactive for this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints due to his inexperience with the playbook. This will give him two weeks to heal up and get acclimated to the Bears playbook and should be fully ready to go when the team hosts the Green Bay Packers on November 12th.
Through seven games this season, the Bears wide receiving core has only 54 receptions among seven players and just two touchdown catches. The injuries to both Kevin White and Cameron Meredith have hurt the team from a size and skill level.
Undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry was the team’s biggest wide receiver before the trade standing 6-foot-1, 208 pounds. Kendall Wright has the most experience and highest skill level at the position but is limited to playing in the slot position.
Inman is 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and now becomes the Bears biggest wide receiver on the team.
Last season, he caught 58 passes for 810 yards with four touchdowns. He was the Chargers’ number one wide receiver after Keenan Allen was lost to a knee injury in the first game of the 2016 season. Inman caught all different passes as he showed value as both a deep threat and as a possession wide receiver in the passing game.
The Bears initially viewed Meredith as their big body possession wide receiver, but he was lost to a torn ACL injury during the third pre-season game.
When Inman does take the field, he provides the offense another weapon and can assist the Bears other wide receivers to be productive as well. The Bears top three wide receivers, when they return to action will most likely feature Inman, Markus Wheaton, and Wright.
If it is those three, the offense would finally have a tradition possession receiver, deep threat receiver, and slot receiver. The move will enable the Bears to move Wright back to the slot position where he has played the best at. Wheaton, if healthy, could be used in deeper routes and may not see the coverage he saw in his first few with the Bears before his injury.
The move provides quarterback Mitchell Trubisky another weapon that could help his progression as a quarterback. If Inman is used as a possession receiver, he provides Trubisky safe throws to a big body that can fight for the ball. Trubisky will not have to worry about throwing a deep pass or having to be precise with every pass as Inman’s catching radius will provide for more completed passes.
Furthermore, defenses will not be able to heavily target the Bears tight ends who Trubisky has targeted heavily through his first three games.
With the trade for Inman, the move signals that the Bears front office believes that the team can contend for the playoffs as they gave up a draft pick for a player who is a free agent after this season.
General manager Ryan Pace needed to make a move because he was putting Trubisky at risk of failure without providing him anyone to throw to especially after the lack of production at the wide receiver position. the move can inspire confidence as a whole for the team showing that the front office believes in their players and wants to help them.
Heading into the second half of the season, it will be very intriguing to see what the Bears will be able to accomplish on offense following this trade. They will still rely on the run to set up the pass, but the passing game as a whole should be better. Coming out of the bye week, Trubisky should be a little bit more ready at the quarterback position and should be able to lead the Bears to more points with the help of Inman. The offense will not be a top five producing offense because of the trade, but if the move helps them win more games and improve their rookie quarterback, that’s all that should matter.