Bears 2012 Free Agency Watch List: Wide Receivers

The Bears' depth chart was exposed last season. After Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down, so did the entire season. The defense knew they had to step up if the Bears had any chance. For the most part, they held up to their part of the bargain but the the offense didn't. In the end, the defense itself was exposed and didn't make enough plays.

Going into the offseason, the Bears will have to upgrade at more than a few positions to stay in contention. If there's anything we learned from watching the playoffs, the Giants, 49ers, Ravens and Patriots have all drafted well and have developed their talent. This will be an important draft for whoever the next general manager will be but we might not be able to determine whether or not the 2012 draft will be successful in a couple years. With an aging defense and what could be a closing window of opportunity, the Bears will have to be busy during the free agency period and find players that can make an immediate impact.

Here is a wish list of free agent wide receivers who I think the Bears should make a priority in getting signed:

Must-Haves

Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston -- They're all big, physical receivers who will give Jay Cutler a target to throw to. Cutler still doesn't have a number one target. With how Cutler spreads the ball around, we shouldn't expect this receiver to have a 100 catch, 1,500 yard season. Cutler just needs someone he can rely on in the red zone and if he needs to make a play, someone who will fight for the ball and hang on to it.

Wouldn't Mind

I also wouldn't mind Stevie Johnson or Reggie Wayne. I think Johnson has more upside than Wayne because he's younger. Both can get open, be reliable deep targets and have sure hands.

Honorable Mentions

DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal are sub six foot receivers. DJax has electrifying speed, a consistent deep threat but doesn't have the toughness that Bears fans love. Royal has been productive with Cutler before at Denver. He's a good route runner and has reliable hands but doesn't that sound a little like Earl Bennett?

The Rest Of The Pack

All of these recievers are upgrades and if the Bears were to sign one of them, the team would be betting on them to become Cutler's number one. The problem is, the Bears can't make the mistake of projecting a player's value and the player not meeting expectations.

Robert Meachem
Mario Manningham
Pierre Garcon
Early Doucet
Steve Smith (PHI)
Laurent Robinson

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Filed under: 4th Phase

Tags: 2012 free agents, jay cutler

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