Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Those of you who read Wednesday's post on Chicago's lack of activity on the free agent market, especially as it pertains to wide receivers, would be interested to note the comments of Bears general manger Jerry Angelo on the topic.
Angelo's Q&A with ChicagoBears.com was published Wednesday afternoon and included this response when asked if he will upgrade the Bears' receiving corps:
"Naturally, we're going to look at that real hard, in all likelihood in the draft. We're not looking for backup wide receivers. What we want are potentially starting wide receivers. We have a nucleus of receivers that we feel good about in terms of twos, threes, fours and fives, and if we carried six, a sixth receiver. Part of that ties into special teams. What we're looking at is the top of the wide receiver position. Where does that come from? It comes with a premium receiver in free agency if there's one out there and/or in the draft. Yes, it's a position that we are looking at."
As we discussed Wednesday, it's difficult to find immediate help from a receiver in the draft -- hence the need to scour the free agent market first. But Angelo said in another response that the price for a starting-caliber veteran receiver, notably T.J. Houshmandzadeh, was too high:
"Houshmandzadeh is a fine receiver. Would we have entertained him? Yes, but we wanted to see what his marketplace was. In this case, we felt like [what he received from Seattle] was an exorbitant amount of money. Remember, he was a No. 2 in Cincinnati. That's not to say that what Seattle did wasn't right for them; their situation is different in my mind than ours. They had an inordinate amount of injuries with receivers and they felt like they needed to get somebody that was established and healthy."
A lot of teams would have liked to have had Houshmandzadeh. But he's going to be 32 in '09 and the price that you're paying for that receiver we felt was very high. You have to look at economics when you look at players. Who doesn't want Houshmandzadeh? But you have to look at the economics: What are the implications to the cap going forward and what does that prevent us from doing in other areas within our team and/or in free agency?"
Some might suggest Angelo is overestimating the potential of his current group of receivers, but it's only fair to present his comments here to help flesh out Wednesday's post.
Continuing around the NFC North on a Thursday morning:
Sirius NFL Radio host Pat Kirwan suggested on air Wednesday that Angelo is facing financial constraints from Bears ownership. But Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Bears have not put strict limitations on Angelo.
Quarterback Chris Simms, whose name has been linked to the Bears and Detroit in media reports, agreed to a two-year deal with Denver. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean has the story.
For at least this season, the Lions don't plan on issuing Corey Smith's No. 93. Smith remains missing in after a boating accident in the Gulf of Mexico. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press reports.
In addition to signing nose tackle Grady Jackson, the Lions also inked free agent cornerback Phillip Buchanon. Here's the report from John Clayton of ESPN.
Green Bay has targeted free agent linebacker Kevin Burnett for a weekend visit, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but Burnett could be signed elsewhere by then.
Former Minnesota center Matt Birk corroborated the Vikings' public statement on his departure, confirming he wanted a change of scenery: "There is something special going on out here [in Baltimore] and I knew this was the place and had to be a part of it." Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune the story, which also addresses some differences Birk had with coach Brad Childress.