Would the Bears really trade Hester?

July 24th, 2008 - 2:56 pm

It’s an idea that has been floated around since Hester first expressed dissatisfaction with his contract at the end of last season. The first football analyst floated the idea of trading Hester while at his peak, and then the idea caught on like wildfire.

Today, Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune wrote an article expressing his belief that Hester should be traded. Some Hester loyalists will tell Pompei that he’s crazy. Others will say to pull the trigger faster than Hester hits the wedge.

I happen to be on the fence. Hester is a unique commodity and a once in a lifetime kick returner. (Sorry, Browns fans. While Joshua Cribbs might be a better all-around special teams player, he doesn’t hold a candle to Hester’s unique return ability.) But at the same time, he’s an unproven wide receiver and he wants a salary comparable to former Bear receiver Bernard Berrian.

Part of me thinks it would be a good idea to ship Hester away while his value is arguably at its highest point. What happens if he returns only 2 kicks for scores this year and has a subpar year as a receiver? Suddenly, he’s not as attractive on the trade market and he’ll still be asking for big bucks.

I’m torn, not because I’d miss watching his exciting kick returns but instead I know that if the Bears had a good offense, they’d make another Super Bowl run because Hester’s mere presence on the field makes the opposing kicking team give the Bears field position at or near the 40-yard line.

Can you imagine if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning were given starting field position at the 40? It’s a scary thought. And if the Bears ever improve their offense, I’m going to want Hester’s influence on field position to give the offense an advantage every time they step on the field.