Former Los Angles Chargers’ wide receiver Dontrelle Inman will give Chicago Bears’ quarterback Mitch Trubisky a veteran wide receiver to help in the passing game. The Bears hope that Inman and Trubisky can give opposing defenses some concerns outside of the running game.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chicago Bears acquired Dontrelle Inman from the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday. The Bears agreed to send a conditional draft pick to the Chargers. That pick will likely be a seventh-round selection in the 2018 NFL draft.
Dontrelle Inman, a 28-year-old veteran immediately becomes the Bears most established wide receiver on the roster. At 6-foot-3, he has the size to win jump ball passes. Inman became expendable for the Chargers, who have Pro Bowler Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, and a healthy Mike Williams.
The L.A. Chargers want to take a long look at rookie Mike Williams. The former Clemson star was taken No. 7 by the Chargers in last April’s NFL Draft. Williams’ presence left Dontrelle Inman inactive in Week 7. It left open the possibility of him landing at with a new team. Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn explained why they decided to deal Inman.
“He got hurt and never really got a good chance to see him, and some other guys stepped ahead of him. We just wanted to get him someplace where he can be happy and play football.”
Despite being buried as the fourth or fifth receiver on the L.A. Chargers’ depth chart, when healthy, Dontrelle Inman has the potential to be a lead pass-catcher.
The addition of Dontrelle Inman is a timely one for the Chicago Bears.
Just days after the Bears only completed four passes in their 17-3 win over the Carolina Panthers, they add Dontrelle Inman in the trade with the Chargers. Versus the Panthers, Mitch Trubisky only attempted seven throws. None of those passes went to Bears’ receivers, despite Trubisky dealing with nine defenders at the line of scrimmage.
With opposing teams looking to stop the Bears from running the football, the Bears had a need for a vertical threat. The receivers the Bears had on the roster have had their struggles separating from defenders. The presence of Dontrelle Inman could change things a bit.
Inman hauled in 58 catches last season for the Chargers. He tallied up 810 yards and four touchdowns. This year Inman was seldom used, only catching two passes while sitting behind Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams. With the Bears, that is expected to change.
Season ending injuries to Cameron Meredith and Kevin White forced the Bears to alter their depth chart. That left the Bears to rely on Kendall Wright, Tre McBride, and Tanner Gentry, among others. The addition of Dontrelle Inman will allow the incumbent receivers to be slotted in the positions they are best suited for.
The timing of the Bears’ acquisition of Inman is ideal. With Mitch Trubisky under center, the Bears have already scaled back their offensive playbook. Trubisky having a learning curve helps matters in a sense.
If Inman makes his Bears’ debut this week versus the New Orleans Saints, all the coaching staff has to do is implement a few routes to help him get acclimated early. The Bears have a bye week in Week 9. That gives Trubisky and Inman two weeks to get acquainted before the second half of the season starts.
Few should expect Dontrelle Inman to make an immediate impact for the Bears in terms of the stat sheet. His true impact on the Bears may not be realized for weeks. Two weeks may be enough time for Inman and Trubisky to develop some chemistry going forward. The Bears’ rookie quarterback knows that he has to develop a rapport with his wide receivers (courtesy of AP News).
“It’s all about rhythm, staying in a groove and really just continuing to evolve and find our identity and what works best for our offense to help out our defense.”
Dontrelle Inman’s size and resume will dictate that he becomes the Chicago Bears’ top receiver. Inman allows the Bears to play Kendall Wright as the slot receiver, with either Tanner Gentry or Tre McBride flanked on the other side. If a double-team is forced with regularity, it opens up the Bears’ offense.
Inman’s presence alone could help the Chicago Bears going forward. It would be simply due to the fact that he is a big target for Mitch Trubisky to find down the field. Gaining separation will be paramount for Inman as he joins a Bears’ team that struggles in that department.
Mitch Trubisky establishing some continuity with Dontrelle Inman opens up the Chicago Bears’ running game, as well as opportunities for Kendall Wright. If the Bears use the former L.A. Chargers’ receiver properly, they could contend for the NFC North. The second half of the Bears’ schedule is not as formidable as the first eight weeks.
Not only does the Chicago Bears face the Cincinnati Bengals, who are struggling, they also have the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers to play. Both teams are currently winless.
There is one primary reason for Bears’ fans to have optimism for the pick up of Dontrelle Inman — free agency. Inman is a free agent at the end of the season. The Bears would benefit greatly from a motivated Inman, who can earn his return to the team next season with a strong showing.
As for the Los Angeles Chargers, receiving a late draft pick from the Chicago Bears is better than not receiving any compensation for a solid receiver. The Chargers are deep at the position and could afford to trade Dontrelle Inman to the Bears.
The trade currently stands as a win for both the Bears and the Chargers. It is also a win for Dontrelle Inman and Mitch Trubisky.
Inman gets a fresh start with a Chicago Bears’ team, which finds themselves quietly in a race for the NFC North. Trubisky gets a proven target to help the Bears win games.
A hefty payday awaits the former Los Angeles Chargers’ receiver if he can help the Bears make things interesting in the second half of the season.
[Featured Image by Donald Miralle/Getty Images]