If the Bears are serious about upgrading at wide receiver, which was arguably their worst position last year, they surely must have taken notice of the e-mail sent out by Drew Rosenhaus this week, in which the superagent touts three Pro Bowl clients of his who want to be traded.
Wide receivers Plaxico Burress of the Giants, Chad Johnson of the Bengals, and Anquan Boldin of the Cardinals have all expressed their desire to play for different teams next season. What an interesting scenario it would be to see two of the three swapping teams, although that possibility seems highly unlikely.
If we are to believe that Bears GM Jerry Angelo was sincere and was not putting up a smokescreen when he shot down the notion of needing to find a No. 1 wide receiver in comments he made following the end of the regular season, then it would seem the Bears would not be in the market to land one of the Big Three available.
The Giants would probably have the least trouble moving their disgruntled receiver if it hadn’t been for the lingering off-the-field incident in which Burress shot himself in the thigh and was charged with felony gun possession. He could face a minimum sentence of 3½ years in prison if convicted.
Boldin would seem to be the next most likely receiver to get his wish because the Cardinals don’t want an unhappy receiver causing problems as they try to make a return trip to the Super Bowl. The odds are heavily stacked against them doing so in the first place, and disharmony in training camp won’t help their cause. They’ll try to do everything they can to accommodate him, but he’s made it pretty clear that he is unhappy and wants out.
As for Ocho Cinco, the Bengals already will be losing T.J. Houshmandzadeh through free agency, so the idea of trading Johnson and entering the season without their top two receivers from a year ago seems far-fetched.
Whatever becomes of these three, expect to see little to no mention of the Bears in trade talks. Even if Angelo had hypothetically come out the day after the season and said, “acquiring a No. 1 receiver is our top priority this off-season,” it would still be improbable that they’d pursue one of these three. The Bears have long been a “high-character” franchise and will not take chances on players with discipline problems, particularly after their recent bouts with Tank Johnson and Cedric Benson.
Boldin isn’t as much of a headcase as the other two, but he was seen yelling at former offensive coordinator and new Chiefs head coach Todd Haley on the sideline during the NFC Championship game against the Eagles. He was then said to have left the stadium quickly despite the ensuing celebration.
And just to stir the pot even further, let’s add another receiver to the trio and make it a quartet of Pro Bowl receivers that might be available this off-season. Rumor has it the Cowboys are pondering whether to get rid of Terrell Owens. Now there’s one more problem child the Bears would likely stay away from.
Upgrading the receiver position is definitely a need in my eyes. Whether or not Angelo agrees is another question. But even if he does make a move to bring in another player at the position, don’t expect it to be a flashy personality with Pro Bowl credentials. Expect a humble, hard-working veteran or a wet-behind-the-ears, rookie middle round draft pick.