The Chicago Bears received positive news on Tuesday as with the league’s deadline for teams to use their franchise tag for players passed and several teams declined to tag their wide receivers. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams decided against using their franchise tags for both receivers Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins.
Weeks before the deadline, many believed that neither player would reach the open market forcing the Bears to explore other options including trading for Jarvis Landry.
Ryan Pace and the Bears will now have multiple options at revamping their wide receiving talent as the three big names they wanted to target in the off-season are all now still available whether via trade or free agency. Robinson is regarded as the top wide receiver on the market and it is believed that the Bears and San Francisco 49ers are favored to sign him.
Watkins will have more teams vying for him with his likely landing point is unknown, but the Rams could want to resign him also.
With the likelihood of Robinson and Watkins hitting the market, it further helps the Bears with their ongoing trade talks with the Miami Dolphins for the services of Landry. As many possible trade rumors have surfaced, the Bears seemed to have lost leverage in negotiations with the Dolphins as it appeared Landry would be the only big name wide receiver available.
Now with numerous top talented wide receivers on the market, the Bears can now regain some leverage when talking with the dolphins knowing they now can look elsewhere to improve their offense if a deal is not in their favor.
When free agency begins on March 14th, the Bears will have close to 80 million dollars in cap space to sign free agents and could provide lucrative deals to either Robinson or Watkins. All three receivers linked to the Bears have recorded 1,000-yard seasons and are still in the prime as all are still under the age of 26.
What was once appearing to be a bleak situation for Bears management to improve their roster, now has become a more optimistic situation with less than a week to go.