Just like there are not a lot of starter-quality options in free agency when it comes to quarterback, it's a thin class at wide receiver.
Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh is head and shoulders above the rest of the group. He joined Waddle & Silvy this morning on WMVP-1000. You can find the interview here.
We've said before Houshmandzadeh would be a longshot to join the Bears. It's been rumored all over the place that a likely destination is Seattle, where the Seahawks are in about as bad of a way at the position as the Bears. There are a couple issues at play here when considering Houshmandzadeh. The first is that the Bears are unlikely to set the bar for anyone in free agency. With Houshmandzadeh the class of the group, he's going to command top dollar even in a weakened economy. If the Bears were not willing to come close to keep Bernard Berrian last season, and keep him away from a division rival, they're not going to overpay for someone who is not a home-run threat.
Houshmandzadeh is 31, the same age Muhsin Muhammad was when he signed with the Bears. He's got similar skills too. While he might not throw quarterbacks into the oncoming path of speeding buses, Houshmandzadeh would be a similar type of player. He also took a page from the Brandon Lloyd playbook and seemed to think Rex Grossman was a better option for the Bears, even though Grossman is entering free agency himself Feb. 27, and will not be back. Here are some highlights:
ON BEING EXCITED ABOUT FREE AGENCY
Houshmandzadeh: "It's just one of those things. I'm excited, to be honest with you. Can't wait for, I believe it is [Feb. 27] March 1st or Feb. 28th, whenever free agency begins. I'm excited about it, and I can't wait to see what the future holds."
HAS HE NARROWED HIS INTEREST LIST TO A FEW TEAMS?
Houshmandzadeh: "I haven't narrowed it down because I don't know who's interested and who's not interested. So, once you get a feel for who would be interested, then you begin to look at the roster; look at the offensive coordinator and the coaches and the quarterback, and things of that nature."
ON RON TURNER AND KYLE ORTON
Houshmandzadeh: "I'm familiar with the NFL. I pretty much can tell you every quarterback and offensive coordinator through the league. I'm open to everything. I just want to win games, really, to be honest with you. Been playing eight years, really, and been to the playoffs, and I was one and done. So, I just want to win. I want to get on the big stage and play."
ON CEDRIC BENSON WITH THE BENGALS LAST SEASON
Houshmandzadeh: "Ced came in there. He did a good job for us, and Ced practiced hard, man. I don't know what the reputation he had in Chicago, but Ced practices really hard. Everything he does is full speed. It's so full speed to the point where in walkthrough; he's running guys over in walkthrough. He practiced hard, and he got a chance to play, and he did well. I don't know what happened; why things didn't go exactly the way they planned in Chicago, but a running back is only as good as his offensive line. So, Ced didn't have the success there that he would have liked, but he went to Cincinnati last year, and he did well. So, he might not be back. So, there's a lot to remain to be seen at what happens."
ON HIS GUT FEELING OF WHETHER OR NOT CHICAGO WOULD BE A GOOD FIT FOR HIM?
Houshmandzadeh: "No, I don't know. You know what's funny, man? Y'all probably going to laugh at me when I tell you this; I kind of like Rex Grossman."
ON GROSSMAN DEFINITELY NOT BEING BACK WITH BEARS NEXT SEASON
Houshmandzadeh: "No, but I'm saying ...I always watched on T.V. how they give Rex Grossman a hard time. I don't know why. He takes chances, but when those chances pay off, nobody talks about them.
WADDLE EMPHASIZES THE FACT THAT GROSSMAN IS NOT CARSON PALMER
Houshmandzadeh: "Oh yeah, yeah, I know. I'm just saying, you know, just his arm strength; he gets the ball down the field. He has that cocky confidence about him, and I don't even know him. It's just from what I see on T.V., and I liked that in him. When he had Bernard Berrian, he did pretty well getting the ball down the field, and you put Devin Hester in that position, had he had got a chance to play some games this year, I think Devin Hester would have had a better season just because of the fact that he's going to get the ball down the field. He's going to give Devin Hester chances to make plays with his speed and his explosion."
ON IF HE IS A FAN OF KYLE ORTON
Houshmandzadeh: "I don't know much about Kyle Orton. I know he went to Purdue. I know he played well as a rookie. I know he was a starter this year, and I know he fought his way back from an ankle injury because he didn't want Rex Grossman to play too well while he was hurt. He played well, though. He played well since his first year from starting compared to his rookie year. So, he did really well. I'm open to everything, I promise you that."