Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
soulman

Where Are They Now?

Recommended Posts

Where are they now? As Bears' 2017 wide receiver room struggles to stay in NFL, current unit looks as deep as ever

 
 

Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley are each all but assured of roster spots on the 2019 Bears. That leaves a deep group of players competing for, likely, one roster spot.

Javon Wims, Taquan Mizzell, Marvin Hall and Emanuel Hall are the biggest names in that group, which also includes Tanner Gentry, Thomas Ives and Jordan Williams-Lambert. Gentry is, notably, the only leftover from the Bears’ wide receiver room at this time in 2017.

Two years ago during OTAs, the biggest question surrounding Zach Azzani’s room was if an over-the-hill Victor Cruz would make the team. Now? It’s which youngsters with some promise won’t make the cut come September. 

“This is the NFL, and we’re the Chicago Bears,” wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said, making a point larger than stating the obvious. “So realistically, we should have 10 guys in our room that have the opportunity to compete with everybody in that room. There shouldn’t be four guys and then a huge drop-off to the other six. We’re the Chicago Bears. Like, we’re in the NFL.”

Furrey is the first Bears receivers coach to return for his second year at that post since Mike Groh, who survived the Marc Trestman-to-John Fox transition for a year in 2015. He was followed by Curtis Johnson and Azzani, the latter of whom you might remember from some awkward moments with Kevin White during training camp in 2017. 

Perhaps the most interesting competition that’ll play out in the coming months — outside of kicker, of course — will happen at the bottom of Furrey’s unit. That aforementioned battle for what might be one roster spot will be heated during training camp: Each of the unreleated Halls possess top-notch speed, while Wims flashed a few times when given opportunities last year at the very start (in the Hall of Fame preseason game) and very end (Week 17 against the Vikings) of the season. 

“If you look at every single guy in our room right now, every single one of them could have long careers in this league,” Furrey said. “And that’s what you want. And that makes it hard on us to figure that out but again, you’re in the NFL, that’s what it should be like.”

That’s not what it’s always been like for the Bears, though. Consider what the members of that 2017 wide receiver room have done since the end of that season:

Kendall Wright (59 receptions): Did not play in 2018. He was released by the Vikings on cut-down day, then was signed and cut/waived twice by the Arizona Cardinals. He remains an unsigned free agent. 

Josh Bellamy (24 receptions): Caught 14 passes for the Bears in 2018 while serving as a core special teamer. He signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the cap space-rich New York Jets as a free agent in March. 

Dontrelle Inman (23 receptions): The Bears’ mid-season acquisition was out of the NFL until last October, when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts. He caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns for Frank Reich's postseason-bound side, and caught all eight targets for 108 yards with a score in two playoff games in January. Inman signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the New England Patriots in the offseason. 

Deonte Thompson (11 receptions): Thompson was released by the Bears after appearing in five games, then went on to be the playoff-bound Buffalo Bills’ most productive wide receiver in 2017 with 27 catches for 430 yards with one touchdown. He appeared in eight games with the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 before being cut and winding back up in Buffalo. The 30-year-old is now with the New York Jets. 

Tre McBride (eight receptions): Most notably, McBride and Bellamy got in a verbal altercation just outside the old Halas Hall wide receivers room — which was right across the hall from the media room. McBride was cut in November of 2017 and hasn’t played in the NFL since, and was waived by Washington in April after he signed a reserve/future contract there in January. 

Tanner Gentry (three receptions): The Bourbonnais fan favorite hung around the practice squad last year and remains with the team in 2019. He does, effectively, still have one more year of practice squad eligibility left, though he may face stiffer competition this year just to make the practice squad once the preseason ends. 

Markus Wheaton (three receptions): One of Ryan Pace’s bigger free-agent busts, Wheaton couldn’t stay healthy in 2017 and turned in one of the worst seasons a wide receiver has had since 1992. He played three total snaps for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 of the 2018 season and remains unsigned. 

Kevin White (two receptions): He was healthy for the entire 2018 season, yet was inactive for seven games and only caught four of eight targets. White signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals in March. 

Cameron Meredith (zero receptions): The Bears declined to match the New Orleans Saints’ two-year, $9.6 million offer sheet for Meredith last spring, opting to use a second-round pick on Miller to replace him. Pace’s plan proved to be sound, too: Meredith only appeared in six games for the Saints last year due to a host of injuries, and had a scope on the same knee he injured with the Bears in that preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. He took a $2.1 million paycut this offseason and has yet to return to practice during OTAs. 

Victor Cruz (zero receptions): Cruz never played in the NFL again after being cut by the Bears and officially announced his retirement last August. He’s now an analyst for ESPN. 

Daniel Braverman, Titus Davis, Alton Howard (zero receptions): None of these players have appeared in the NFL since being released by the Bears on cut-down day in 2017. Braverman, a 2016 sixth-round pick, was most recently released from the Cardinals’ practice squad last December. 

***

A thought here, which leads to another thought: There’s been some excitement over the last month about Emanuel Hall, the undrafted speed burner from Mizzou, even if he doesn’t have a clear path to making the Bears. He hasn’t participated in either of the OTAs open to the media in the last two weeks, making his uphill climb a little steeper when training camp begins in July. 

But two years ago, had the Bears had a player with Hall’s pedigree in camp, he would’ve had a path to not only making the team, but being one of Mitch Trubisky’s top targets his rookie year. 

Hall said he chose to sign with the Bears despite the loaded depth chart ahead of him largely because of Furrey — an awfully complimentary comment for a position coach. So the second thought: While the Bears’ talent at receiver is far better than it was two years ago, don’t discount Furrey’s impact on building the strength of this group. 

“I want my guys to be selfish to become unselfish,” Furrey said. “I want them to go build their careers and be the best they can be and become better. That’s going to help us, unselfishly, as a football team. 

“And so that’s kind of the mindset of me as a position coach when I’m sitting there thinking hey, okay, how do we do this, how do we do that, well let’s get this guy reps, let’s make sure everybody’s even-keel right now. And so if everybody else can see in this room that it’s not a drop-off from sixth to seventh, so the top six get all the reps. Right now we want to make sure everybody knows that everybody can play in that room. And if you don’t want to study, if you don’t want to learn what you’re supposed to be doing, if you don’t want to show up and be where you’re supposed to be when the play is called, next guy up. That’s a pretty good deal to have.”

Or, as Furrey re-iterated: “This is the NFL. This is the Chicago Bears. So we need to have 10 guys in our room every year that are competing for those spots, and that’ll make us better and make our football team better.”  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TRUBINSKI SUX PACE IS AN MORON HE SUCKED HIS FIRST YEAR

boy I wonder why. Look at that putrid WR corps. Yikes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hall was kind of stupid to sign here to be honest.

As an UDFA you want to go to team with weakest depth chart not the strongest. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget Bears 2017 FA class.  

1. Mike Glennon

2. Mark Sanchez

3. Q. Demps

4. D. Sims

5. Prince A.  - One good one.  Yay.  

6. M. Cooper

7.M. Wheaton

8. T. Compton

9. K. Wright

10. J. Jenkins

11. B. Cunningham

I would be willing to believe a conspiracy theory that Pace was sabotaging Fox to get him out door so he could get a new coach with no controversy.

Either that or more likely Pace just did really, really bad in FA that year and showed he is human.   I think he was trying out his new philosophy of plugging holes with journeyman and swinging for fences in drafts to build a roster.  I think he just over estimated quality of these journeyman.  At least he didn't overly burden himself long term.  Worst contract was probably Sims and Glennon and neither was awful long term.  

To be honest team would have been much better off with Sanchez at QB in 2017 for that year after seeing Glennon in camp and OTAs.   It was quickly apparent he was garbage.

  They got a top 10 pick, but MT got a zero development year if you don't count learning to take a snap under center which people make a big deal of, but 9 year olds learn it in a few weeks.

In my mind this is effectively year two for MT not year 3.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, dll2000 said:

I would be willing to believe a conspiracy theory that Pace was sabotaging Fox to get him out door so he could get a new coach with no controversy.

Ehh...hard to say. Coach on hot seat, no QB, bad team...hard to get FAs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, dll2000 said:

I would be willing to believe a conspiracy theory that Pace was sabotaging Fox to get him out door so he could get a new coach with no controversy.

Ya' think?   icon_rofl.gif

God's honest truth when you look at that collection of has beens, never was, and never will be, and compare it to what he's done since most juries would find him guilty as charged.  LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Heinz D. said:

Ehh...hard to say. Coach on hot seat, no QB, bad team...hard to get FAs. 

I fully believe it was a tanking year. Took some swings but  clearly wasn't invested too much in them by the low costs to cut or short deals. Prince worked out well, Wright had potential to be a solid reserve, Wheaton was a swing that had solid potential as a deep threat, Glennon was fodder that was an overpriced decoy IMO (and both he and Sanchez seemed to do a decent job as mentors from what little I read), Demps was supposed to just be a consistently not-terrible guy. etc. None were major swings, none were big risks, but all had the "chance" of doing something well.

 

I make $5-10 bets on games all the time, if I win cool, if I lose then it is minimal. These were IMO bets to maybe snag a cheap vet who could fill a role or expand their role (like Hicks and Amukamara did) or they could be dropped immediately for a better prospect. I feel like Pace knew Fox was a dead fish, and the players around the league were going to be less than thrilled to play for him after seeing the results. I doubt our guys were privately hyping him up either. He was kind of the anti-Nagy. lol 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Sugashane said:

I fully believe it was a tanking year. Took some swings but  clearly wasn't invested too much in them by the low costs to cut or short deals. Prince worked out well, Wright had potential to be a solid reserve, Wheaton was a swing that had solid potential as a deep threat, Glennon was fodder that was an overpriced decoy IMO (and both he and Sanchez seemed to do a decent job as mentors from what little I read), Demps was supposed to just be a consistently not-terrible guy. etc. None were major swings, none were big risks, but all had the "chance" of doing something well.

 

I make $5-10 bets on games all the time, if I win cool, if I lose then it is minimal. These were IMO bets to maybe snag a cheap vet who could fill a role or expand their role (like Hicks and Amukamara did) or they could be dropped immediately for a better prospect. I feel like Pace knew Fox was a dead fish, and the players around the league were going to be less than thrilled to play for him after seeing the results. I doubt our guys were privately hyping him up either. He was kind of the anti-Nagy. lol 

In his own defense Pace could always offer that he did make attempts to land some better prospects but some FAs simply shunned us and signed elsewhere and in some cases for less than we offered.  Fox as a HC had become a pariah.

Contrast that to some of the extensions Pace has been able to accomplish with our own guys and a player like HHCD signing a cheap 1 year deal because he wanted to play here.  Our own guys want to stay and others, including a huge number of UDFAs, want a shot at making this team.

If we're all aware of the differences between then and now you can bet players and player agents are as well.

Unlike before players we signed on cheap deals just to fill a hole are now more likely to be guys like HHCD looking to join a winner to boost their chances for a better long term deal and that's fine with me.  NE has used guys like that to win championships with for years and so did Halas many years ago.  We can now plug holes with top shelf FAs rather than 2nd and 3rd tier guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, soulman said:

In his own defense Pace could always offer that he did make attempts to land some better prospects but some FAs simply shunned us and signed elsewhere and in some cases for less than we offered.  Fox as a HC had become a pariah.

Contrast that to some of the extensions Pace has been able to accomplish with our own guys and a player like HHCD signing a cheap 1 year deal because he wanted to play here.  Our own guys want to stay and others, including a huge number of UDFAs, want a shot at making this team.

If we're all aware of the differences between then and now you can bet players and player agents are as well.

Unlike before players we signed on cheap deals just to fill a hole are now more likely to be guys like HHCD looking to join a winner to boost their chances for a better long term deal and that's fine with me.  NE has used guys like that to win championships with for years and so did Halas many years ago.  We can now plug holes with top shelf FAs rather than 2nd and 3rd tier guys.

Exactly my point. Everyone knew Fox was on his way out and the team was basically tanking, there was no chance at a playoff run so why bother to sign unless grossly overpaid? Once he was gone it automatically became a much more appealing location, having Glennon as the QB inspired nobody, having the number 2 overall pick and a young excitable coach - from the Reid tree - makes it 1000 times more positive a location. After seeing the culture change start we got better FAs, after seeing the first place finish in the division now WE can finally get those "under-market-price" deals like with HHCD.

 

Hopefully we can follow through and keep the winning going, with some of the young talent Pace and Co are going to have to dole out some big contracts, so we are going to rely on these kind of deals and rookies to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



×