The collection of displaced football professionals continues to grow.
Torry Holt wants to join the group. Soon.
The veteran St. Louis Rams wide receiver reportedly has asked to be released. The Rams owe Holt a $1.25 million roster bonus on March 17 and are believed to be looking to cut their salary cap and get younger by moving on. The problem is with Holt's contract they have not had any success finding a taker. Why trade for a guy when he's going to reach the open market where you can write your own contract?
That brings us to the possibility Holt would be a fit for the Bears. Before we go forward, we're going to estimate the chances of this marriage happening are slim. Real slim. But we'll make our case later. Holt, who turns 33 in June, led the Rams in receiving last season even as they worked to phase him out and promote exciting rookie Donnie Avery. Holt finished with 796 yards on 64 catches with three touchdowns. It snapped a streak of eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for him. To put that in perspective for a second, the Bears have had 10 1,000-yard receivers in their entire history.
Back to Holt, he wants out and one guy who helped him rack up a whole bunch of his 12,660 career yards figures he's got something left.
"Believe me, [he's a] great locker room guy, great leader,'' said quarterback Kurt Warner Thursday morning when he visited with Waddle & Silvy on ESPN-1000 AM. "I believe he still has some left in the tank, if you look at it he still led St. Louis in receiving last year. Even though to a degree he was phased out, they were trying to work some of the younger guys in, and fill in the ball, he still led their team in receiving.
"So, I think there's still definitely something there that he can offer to a football team. I don't know the fit there. I don't know how their offense would be designed around him, but I do think he's got something to offer and will offer some good things to another team."
OK. There's our first tip. Warner himself wonders if the Bears would be a fit for Holt. We wonder that as well. The common error made by those rushing to play Chuck Woolery when it comes to free agency is there has to be a mutual desire on the part of the player and the team. Given his freedom from St. Louis, what would make Chicago an attractive destination for Holt with 30 other teams to look at? He could be hard-pressed to replicate his 2008 statistics in the Bears' offense.
Next, let's look at what general manager Jerry Angelo announced Wednesday on the team's Web site, a regular platform he's going to take to now to shape the message, apparently.
"Naturally, we're going to look at [wide receiver] real hard, in all likelihood in the draft,'' Angelo said. "We're not looking for backup wide receivers. What we want are potentially starting wide receivers. We have a nucleus of receivers that we feel good about in terms of twos, threes, fours and fives, and if we carried six, a sixth receiver. Part of that ties into special teams. What we're looking at is the top of the wide receiver position. Where does that come from? It comes with a premium receiver in free agency if there's one out there and/or in the draft. Yes, it's a position that we are looking at."
A case could be made, a strong one, that Holt is no longer a "premium" player. An upgrade over anything the Bears have had? No doubt. A match for the Bears? Maybe not.
*** Running back Kevin Jones is meeting with the Buffalo Bills today. There's a tie-in there worth remembering. Bills coach Dick Jauron was in Detroit when the Lions drafted Jones in the first round. Jauron was also the interim head coach in Detroit for a run there while Jones was a member of the Lions. The Bills have legally challenged Marshawn Lynch on the roster and Fred Jackson, who is an exclusive rights free agent and is making noise that he wants a substantial contract. Jackson, of course, is not in a position with leverage.
*** You can rule out Rex Grossman handing the ball off to Cedric Benson in the Queen City. Cincinnati signed two-time ex-Bear J.T. O'Sullivan to back up Carson Palmer. One source said Grossman could draw interest from Detroit.