The Bears have arguably had a bigger need to land a veteran wide receiver than they have had a need for an OT, S and QB. The receiver was the least productive position on the team last year, possibly in the league. Yet the Bears made no move towards landing a single WR in free agency and don’t appear to be making a move with veterans Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt on the market.
So the question is why? Holt has a lingering knee problem that have kept teams at bay and Harrison is 36 not exactly goiing to get a lot of production out him at his age. Delving further into things the Bears appear to be intent on landing a WR via the draft first and foremost. The strong majority of their pre-draft focus has been on WRs specifically possession type receivers that can take the heat off of Devin Hester on the deep patterns where he can best utilize his speed to get open and make plays in the open field in one on one situations.
So the question that seems to be on every fan’s mind is why haven’t the Bears signed a receiver and who will they draft? The answer seems to be the Bears could just draft a player to come in and be the number two guy behind Hester who undoubtedly will be the first receiver. As much as it makes sense to everyone given the immediate need for receivers, only one additional receiver may come on board.
Why? I suspect that it could be because the Bears don’t want to upset the balance they currently have with Devin Hester. Why is the balance with Hester seemingly so delicate? Simple Hester’s extended contract is structured such that he’ll only get the big money for production as a receiver. Last year during Hester’s contract stalemate that happened at this time it was for more money. So what did the Bears say to Hester? We’ll pay you big money, but we’re not going to pay you elite receiver money unless you give us elite receiver production. Hester’s salary is designed to pay him based on the production he shows as a potential wide receiver.
So what happens if the Bears draft a player in the second round who comes in and becomes the number one receiver or number two receiver behind a veteran presence like Marvin Harrison or Torry Holt? Hester could be relegated to the third receiver on the team, there by limiting his production and also limiting the amount of money he makes. As evidenced by some of the comments made by Hester last year, he will be one unhappy player if he’s not given the best opportunity to make his money.
While it makes the most sense to just about everyone that Hester’s touches should be somewhat limited so that his production as a return man picks back up, there is the risk of making Hester unhappy. The last thing the Bears want to do is upset the locker room or the balance of this developing offense.