The Chicago Bears released veteran wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad today and signed Alex Brown to 2-year contract extension. Bernard Berrian is probably going to go to another team because he’ll ask for more money than the Bears are willing to give him. And the talk has already begun about Marty Booker wanting to re-sign with his old team.
Let’s break this down. In his last season with the Panthers, Moose had 93 catches for 1,405 and 16 TD’s. His best season with the Bears came in 2006 when he had 863 yards and 5 TD’s. It’s sad to say it, but everyone knows he peaked back in 2004. And even before that season, the most TD’s he had in a season was 8. I don’t want to discredit his accomplishments, both on and off the field, but just because we like the guy doesn’t mean you keep signing him when he can’t pull his weight.
Now let’s go to Berrian. His best season was this past one, where he registered 71 catchs for 951 yards and 5 TD’s. He had 6 TD’s in 2006, but was plagued with an injury in 2005 and only contributed slightly in 2004. I know the Bears haven’t exactly had their QB situation figured out, but we had a monster first half of the season last year and he only had 6 TD’s and 775 yards. Good enough to be a #2 receiver, but nowhere near what we would need out of a #1. Devin Hester had 6 TD’s on 6 plays for Christ’s sake.
Now on to Mr. Marty Booker. Why is everyone wanting to re-sign this guy? Granted he went down to the Dolphins who have a horrendous team and a much worse-off QB situation, but he’s been in the league for 9 years. His best season was in 2001 when he had 100 catches for 1,071 yards and 8 TD’s. That was 6 seasons ago and I doubt he’s going to come back and have Rex/Orton/Question Mark throw him more than 2 or 3 TD’s and gain 500+ yards. I’d rather give Rashied Davis and Hester a lot more time and let Bradley move into the #2 slot, depending on who they sign. He had 14 catches for 282 yards and 3 TD’s in 2006 as a #3 or 4 slot. He can definitely contribute just as much as Moose did the past couple years.
I’ve heard alot of Chad Johnson’s name being thrown around, but I really don’t think that will ever play out. And we know from Jerry Angelo that they we’re going to see either Orton or Grossman at this point, so I say they take some shots at receivers that play like Wes Welker. We need someone who can play the slot and get open for short drop passes. We definitely have a decent if not great TE corp with Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Clark is obviously aging, but Olsen proved very efficient down the stretch and will flourish in 2008 if they use him properly. As for our deep threat, there’s no one else I’d rather see develop into that person than Devin Hester. He should be able to learn the routes and blow by anyone next season, but they have to work with him strictly as a wide receiver. We’ll see if that happens.
As for wide receivers that are available, Chad Johnson is out there and there’s also been whisper about Jabar Gaffney. Gaffney was on one of the most prolific teams in NFL history behind Tom Brady, so let’s not just on that bandwagon just yet. There have to be people that fit into our offensive gameplan and that will obviously depend on whether we fix the O Line and boost our running game. No one will respect Rex or Kyle, especially since both exist in the pockey 95% of the time, so unless our running game is up and running, you will see a repeat of 2007. Michael Turner would be an interesting addition. Cedric Benson has really been a bust in my opinion. How can you be one of the most prolific running backs to come out of the Texas football system and be this horrible in the pro’s? Its like Rashaan Salaam winning the Heisman and then falling off the earth after four or five seasons. Some people just weren’t meant to succeed at this level.
All in all, I hope we sign Michael Turner, develop Hester and move up Bradley and Davis, incorporate Olsen much, much more, and fix the O-Line. Oh yeah and get a new QB once Rex implodes again. I like the guy, but he is definitely not the solution. And hopefully our defense can carry us to 8 wins next season.