Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Face it: Bears are happy with their WRs

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

In the hours leading up to Miami's acquisition of receiver Brandon Marshall, @jasherrera lashed out via Twitter:
@espn_nfcnblog Y wldnt Smith/Angelo trade 2011 1st rd 4 Marshall? Both r fired if they dnt win THIS year anyway, that content w/ WRs we got?

To translate from Twitter-ese: Please explain why the Bears didn't get involved with the sweepstakes for Marshall, who rose to Pro Bowl status while playing with current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and would provide a legitimate No. 1 receiver to a group known mostly for its potential. If the gambit didn't work, the resulting damage would almost certainly be the problem of Chicago's next general manager and coach. Do general manager Jerry Angelo and coach Lovie Smith really have that much faith in the Bears' current group of pass-catchers?

Let's work through those issues as systematically as we can.

  1. Without a first- or second-round pick in 2010, the Bears didn't have the firepower in this year's draft to complete a trade. If they were really desperate, it's possible they could have swung a multi-team deal to get the Broncos a second-round pick this year. Or, they could have offered a package that included their No. 1 pick in 2011, a scenario that would have diminished their draft for a third consecutive year. That deficit would be tough for any franchise to overcome.
  2. Miami is poised to make Marshall the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. That would mean a deal that averages at least $10 million per season. While there is no salary cap this season, every team has the internal limitations of a cash budget. The Bears added three premium contracts to their payroll last month in signing defensive end Julius Peppers, running back Chester Taylor and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna. Just a guess, but I'm thinking their budget is about tapped out.
  3. At every opportunity, the Bears' actions have demonstrated a strong level of confidence in their current group of receivers. Not only have they sat out trade talks for Marshall and Anquan Boldin, but they've also expressed no known interest in a list of available veterans that includes Torry Holt and Kevin Curtis. In and interview on the Bears' Web site, Angelo said he have investigated some free agent offensive linemen and at least one veteran safety, but made no mention of receivers.

As a group, the Bears' receivers showed flashes last season. And a number of football people I respect have offered positive evaluations of the group. But it's simply a fact to note that analysis is based on potential, not necessarily prior production. Let's close with a look at the career catches of the Bears' receiving corps, a list I think should include tight end Greg Olsen:

Greg Olsen: 153
Devin Hester: 128
Rashied Davis: 79
Earl Bennett: 54
Johnny Knox: 45
Devin Aromashodu: 31
Juaquin Iglesias: 0
Eric Peterman:
0