The Chicago Bears will enter free agency looking for solutions (yes, plural) at wide receiver and Pro Football Focus sees the team as the best fit for the two best players projected to hit the free agent market.
PFF’s Free Agent Guide (which comes with a PFF Edge/Elite subscription package) is a recently-published 344-page behemoth stacked with player profiles, advanced stats, grades, team fits, and other tidbits. As we shift our focus to free agency, this resource will come in handy.
Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry are the two highest-ranking free agent receivers in PFF’s eyes and both check in among the top-10 on PFF’s list of the 50 best unrestricted free agents. Both have the Bears listed as the team PFF’s team believes is the best fit. No argument here.
Chicago doesn’t have a vertical threat outside like the 6-3, 210-pound Robinson, who is coming off ACL surgery but is only a few years removed from a 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown season. Robinson is arguably the most intriguing free agent prospect. He won’t turn 25 until August and probably has the most upside of any free agent. He made Blake Bortles look like a rising star in 2015, which suggests he could do big things for Mitch Trubisky’s growth. And even when Robinson’s production took a step back in 2016 (73 catches, 883 yards, 6 touchdowns) it was still better than anything a Bears wideout did in 2017. If healthy, Robinson has a high floor and elite upside.
The Bears don’t have a player like Landry either. One of the league’s best slot receivers, Landry catches everything over the middle and can make big plays with yards after the catch. He isn’t a downfield threat and isn’t going to be a target for 50-50 balls, but Landry’s role in the Bears offense as a top target operating within the slot would be clear as day.
If either Robinson or Landry were added to the Bears in 2018, they would be the best receiver on the roster by far. If the team was able to add both, well, that would certainly put Trubisky on solid ground to take that second-year leap like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz before him (regardless of how the draft turns out). Of course, while adding either (let alone both) could be a huge move for the Bears, it’s worth remembering that Landry and Robinson are both candidates to be retained via the franchise tag next season. So keep those expectations in check, friends.
Remodeling the room of pass catchers probably won’t stop at two wide receivers. PFF also lists the Bears as best fits for receivers Dontrelle Inman and Albert Wilson, as well as tight end Tyler Eifert.
Inman and Trubisky seemed to hit it off upon his arrival after the trade deadline, garnering 22 targets in his first three games and 10 in the season-ending loss against the Vikings.
Wilson seems like a perfect fit to help the Bears transition into Matt Nagy’s offense. He set career bests in targets (62), receptions (42), yards (554), touchdowns (3), and offensive snaps (536).The Chiefs signed Wilson as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and has spent the last four seasons in Kansas City.
Eifert has played just 39 games in his first five seasons and hasn’t played in more than 10 games since 2015, but he was a Pro Bowl tight end that season and has a first-round pedigree. There would be some risk in bringing the Notre Dame product into the Bears’ tight ends room, but a buy-low scenario could conceivably present itself for a team that would be wise to team Adam Shaheen with a high-upside pass catcher.
PFF also has the Bears listed as the best fit for tight end Zach Miller and quarterback Mark Sanchez.
For more on what the free agent market will hold when the offseason kicks off, check out PFF’s Free Agent Guide.