Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears are heading into a very important 2018 NFL offseason. After firing John Fox and moving forward with new head coach Matt Nagy, the Bears are starting a new era for their franchise.
Chicago is happy with their current situation at quarterback for the first time in years. Mitchell Trubisky was drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and showed flashes of superstar potential as a rookie. He finished the year with 2,193 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven interceptions, while completing 59.4 percent of his pass attempts.
Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were both forces to be reckoned with in the backfield for the Bears. They are going to be a deadly backfield moving forward in Chicago.
Defensively, the Bears could use some help in free agency and the draft. They have some pieces to build around moving forward, but Pace and Nagy will both want to focus on the defensive side of the football this offseason.
All of that being said, there are still some holes offensively that need to be fixed. One of those is at the wide receiver position, and there is one surprising move that could fix that issue quickly.
What surprising move must the Bears make this offseason? They need to go out in free agency and sign Sammy Watkins.
Some may wonder how Watkins could possibly fix the Bears’ wide receiver issues after the past couple of seasons he has had. He has gone from being one of the league’s up-and-coming young stars to a wide receiver that could have been something special, all in just a couple short years.
During the 2017 season with the Los Angeles Rams, Watkins was the exact opposite of consistent. He caught 39 passes for 583 yards and eight touchdowns, according to ESPN statistics. Those numbers certainly weren’t what the Rams were hoping to get from the former star receiver.
So why would Watkins completely change the outlook for the Bears’ wide receivers? Quite simply, being the No. 1 target for a quarterback like Trubisky would bring out his best.
Standing in at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, Watkins still possesses top-notch speed and athleticism. He had a few big games for the Rams in 2017, showcasing that he is still capable of big performances.
At just 24 years of age, Watkins has plenty of time to right the ship. Yes, he has had back-to-back disappointing seasons, but that does not erase the talent he brings to the table.
Chicago would immediately view him as their No. 1 receiver, ahead of names like Kevin White and Kendall Wright, if both are back next season. Watkins has the size and potential to be something special in the right situation.
In his first two NFL seasons, Watkins showed the kind of potential that he has. He racked up 982 yards as a rookie and 1,047 yards in his second season. Watkins totaled 15 touchdowns between those two seasons.
While the Bears could decide to target a star like Jarvis Landry, Watkins would be a much cheaper option. He may not be a proven star just yet, but there is no denying that he is capable of becoming that. Even if the Bears were to sign a receiver like Landry, they need to seriously consider signing Watkins.
Looking at Watkins as the answer for the Bears’ aerial attack is certainly surprising. Many will disagree that the Bears should try to sign him, but it just makes too much sense.
Expect to see the Bears be extremely active this offseason. They are getting tired of being at the bottom of the NFC North and will aggressively pursue getting back into playoff contention.
Watkins may not be the one piece that gets their offense back on track, but he certainly could become the star receiver that many thought he would be in Buffalo.