All the indications the Bears have made are that they will not be in play for a veteran wide receiver with proven credentials.
There's exactly one of those set to reach the open market in a little more than 2 1/2 hours now--Cincinnati's T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
And the Cincinnati Enquirer lists the Bears as one of three favorites to land his services.
"The Bengals decided not to place the franchise tag on Houshmandzadeh, which would've been for $9.88 million. It is believed that he is looking for a deal upwards of $10 million per season. As many as eight teams could be in the T.J. Derby starting Friday, but the favorites remain the Eagles, Giants and Bears."
We've learned to never say never, but we will say we don't think so to this one. The Bears went down this same path four years ago when they paid good money on the open market--a little more than $5 million per season--for Muhsin Muhammad. He was 32. Houshmandzadeh, who will turn 32 in September, is seeking big money, reportedly $10 million a year. He's been second fiddle for the Bengals to Chad Johnson. He feels he can break out on his own.
General manager Jerry Angelo said he wasn't necessarily in the market for a veteran receiver:
"I know what people were hammering us that we didn't have the veteran receivers, you know, when we sent Bobby Engram down the road,'' he said. ``And we went with Marty Booker. We turned out to be OK. I like our receivers. Do we have to look at the position? Yes, we do. Does it need to be addressed in free agency? Not necessarily. We tried to do that last year. It really didn't work out the way we liked. So I like what we have. They need to continue to develop. But again our play starts with our lines. I don't want to get so focused on the receiver position although, yes, we do need to look at the receiver position as well.''
Where do you think Houshmandzadeh wants to land? The Giants are a year removed from winning the Super Bowl and are in need of a replacement for Plaxico Burress. The Eagles were just in the NFC Championship Game. Houshmandzadeh's agent works for the same company that represents Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who reportedly wants to see Philly upgrade the roster some before getting down to the business of a contract extension. Where do you think the agent wants to steer Houshmandzadeh? Buckle in, it's about to get started.
UPDATED: Houshmandzadeh just said in an interview on ESPN that he informed his agent he would be interested in playing for the Giants, Eagles, Seattle and ... and NFC North team, Minnesota. No mention of the Bears.