Maybe there’s a reason the Bears haven’t signed a 30-something unrestricted free agent wide receiver in order to give Jay Cutler a proven and productive target to throw his laser-like passes to this season.
Maybe last year’s experiment with veteran unrestricted free agent wide receivers Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd soured the Bears on that approach. Lloyd caught 26 passes last season for 364 yards and was close to useless in the final 12 games, when he caught 11 passes for 115 yards. Booker was even less productive. He caught 14 passes for 211 yards all season, and in the final nine games had just 3 catches for 28 yards.
Even worse, their presence kept last year’s third-round pick, Earl Bennett, buried on the depth chart, and it retarded his development. This year, because Booker and Lloyd are gone, Bennett will be fast-tracked and given a legitimate shot to start or at least contribute. Maybe, if he were given the same chance last season he might have put up better numbers than either Booker or Lloyd, but it’s always safer to go with the proven commodity and most coaches tend to lean that way.
The same could be true of this year’s third-round pick, Juaquin Iglesias. With a veteran on the roster, Iglesias would be the odd man out. On the current roster, he has an opportunity to get significant playing time.
If the Bears are truly convinced that Bennett and Iglesias are ready for prime time, maybe they don’t need to bring in a veteran presence.