Chicago Sun-Times

Four Down Territory, April 24: Price finally right for Boldin?

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Once again, our mailbox has blown up with Anquan Boldin inquiries. On the eve of the draft, we'll pick one out of the hat and cover the bases.

Q: Considering the latest update on the Cardinals trade demands and that Jerry Angelo is now a baller, do you think the Bears have the ammo or desire to land Anquan Boldin for their second-round pick plus Jamar Williams, Garrett Wolfe and/or Dez Clark?

Micah, Minnesota

A: We've thoroughly covered the Boldin situation in the last few months, and did so right here last week when we pointed out an interesting study on his effectiveness vs. that of teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Check that out if you missed it, and keep in mind the Bears don't have a Fitzgerald to run opposite Boldin. It's not a surprise to some personnel people we polled that the price has come down. That should give you an indication what kind of value people around the league place on Boldin. Keep that in mind.

We talked to a personnel boss from another city at the scouting combine. He told us then he thought Boldin might be had for a third-round pick. He said he viewed Boldin as a tight-end type because of his speed and said his production was a function of what the Cardinals had him do. Yes, he said he'd love to have Boldin on his team, but he didn't classify him as a top-flight wide receiver at this point. I'm not sure what the Cardinals would want from an unproven Jamar Williams, an unproven Garrett Wolfe and an aging Dez Clark. Remember, the tight end isn't a big part of that Arizona offense.

Cardinals general manager Rod Graves said the probability now is Boldin will stay in Arizona.

"Our priority has always been to extend Anquan at some point and we felt before doing so we had to at least explore opportunities a trade might present," Graves told the team's Web site. "We have done that and the process is still not over, but it looks as if him staying with us and at least the possibility of an extension seems more of a reality than a trade."

We don't necessarily buy that. It's likely the Cardinals want to move him and realize that getting a first-round pick might not happen. It's become a headache and the Cardinals have to want to move on. For the Bears to be involved, we're talking about lightning striking twice in the same spot on the heels of Angelo's trade for Jay Cutler. We don't think it will happen. Angelo has said all along the position will be addressed during the draft. If Boldin and agent Drew Rosenhaus demand a deal in the neighborhood of $9 million per year, is he worth that? Again, check out the KC Joyner study we referenced in our last post. If no team is willing to fork over a first-round pick, especially in a draft where so many teams are concerned about the talent at the very top of the draft, does that say something?


Q: Any word on Earl Bennett? I saw a quote you posted were Ron Turner said Jay Cutler was throwing the ball everyday and putting his work in. I was wondering if Bennett was doing the same? I would think that with a new quarterback and a desperate need for help at receiver that all the receivers would be trying to put in some extra work with him. So you got any idea of who he is throwing the ball to?

A: Cutler is throwing the ball to the players who show up for the voluntary offseason workout program. Bennett has been finishing classes at Vanderbilt, so he has not been around for everything. He is at Halas Hall when he's in town and the coaching staff seems pleased with his development.

"Earl looks great,'' Turner said Tuesday. "He looks like we thought he would look. He looks like a player that has more confidence and understands the system now and has learned how to play fast and he did that last year. About the last four or five weeks of the year we could kind of see a difference in him. He came into minicamp this year and I think every coach commented, `Wow, Earl looks different.'

"He looks like a different guy. He was playing fast, playing with confidence. I think having Jay here is probably going to help even more with the confidence level. So we feel good about those guys and obviously our tight ends and what they can do and then some of the young receivers will have to step up and we'll see where we go with it.''

Turner said that Bennett has been working at X and inside in the slot and added his preference would be to get a new receiver with some good size.


Q: We've heard a lot about the first-round caliber receivers and the second rounders (Massaquoi, Iglesias, etc) but what if the Bears wait until the second day to take a receiver? Can you give some insights on who the Bears might target? Is it possible the Bears will select more than one receiver? They certainly could use some depth. I'd like to see them take Johnny Knox from Abilene Christian on Sunday. He's very fast (4.3 forty) and has good hands.

Chris F., Homer Glen, Ill.

A: We have tried to run through the possible names available to the Bears starting in Round 3. It wouldn't surprise us if the Bears take two receivers this weekend, in fact it's probably a pretty good idea. If they don't, they need to give better consideration to a couple players they have on the roster right now--Brandon Rideau and John Broussard. Rideau's preseason production last summer has been well chronicled. Broussard is another interesting guy and we never got around to writing about him after minicamp when we probably should have. The first thing that stuck out about Broussard was the size he's put on. The Bears list him at 6-1, 176 pounds, and he's probably more like 190 right now. He's been diligent since the season ended about getting bigger and getting stronger. He made a handful of really nice catches in minicamp and certainly opened some eyes. He's got very good speed and could be a vertical threat. We're not predicting a roster spot for Broussard, but the Bears need to give a better look to guys like him, especially at a position that screams need. I don't know if the Bears are real interested in Knox and one source said they are not interested in Rice's Jarrett Dillard, another second day option. Ole Miss' Mike Wallace seems to think the Bears are hot after him and seems to think it could happen in Round 2. We doubt that. Later on, maybe. Kevin Ogletree, Juaquin Iglesias, Brooks Foster, Derrick Williams, Austin Collie, Brandon Gibson, Marko Mitchell, Ramses Barden, Patrick Turner, those are some names. Not sure what kind of rookie production you can expect out of them. Iglesias probably will not last to No. 99 where the Bears pick.


Q: Based on what you have written this week it seems like you don't believe Alabama's Rashad Johnson is an option for the Bears, or they don't think he's an option for them. He's the best free safety in this draft with the production in the SEC to go along. What gives? I hope you're wrong.

Barrett, Parts Unknown

A: We'll turn right to Angelo and what he said earlier this week when asked about the ultra-productive Johnson.

"[His size] is an issue,'' Angelo said. "As I say, we have a player profile at each position and that comes into play strongly, particularly at the safety position. It's not just Bear-related, it's collectively around the league the durability has become a real concern there. With size, durability is a part of that.''

Johnson is listed at 5-11, 203 pounds, up a little more than 10 pounds since the Senior Bowl. One scout said he played at closer to 185 last season the Crimson Tide. You can't argue with his production. You can't argue with his durability in college. The scout said he had small hands and they just are concerned about him being able to hold up. Now, the scout said if Johnson is on the board in the fourth round (very unlikely) it's an entirely different conversation. In Round 2, it sounds like Johnson's size makes him an unlikely selection for the Bears.

That concludes our final Four Down Territory before the draft. We'll entertain some questions at some point next week. Make sure you check back with us all weekend for complete draft coverage. We'll finish our positional previews Saturday morning with, what else, wide receivers.

We're going to be blogging live from Halas Hall and if you're not following us on Twitter, get on board. We'll be sending out quick updates. Our handle on Twitter is cst_bears. Thanks for the participation and thanks as always for reading and making this the most popular blog on the Web site this spring when we're months away from an actual game.

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7 Comments

I am high on three of those later round WR's..

Brandon Gibson - good size, good speed, solid hands.

Ramses Barden - Great size, good speed, awesome ball skills and great production

Kevin Ogeltree - Good size and speed..i like him

Hey guys! Lets try something new..how about we talk football instead of wasting 75% of the posts dissing or talking about Creighton..i think its a good idea.

Brad, you're an excellent football analyst, but you're overanalyzing the Boldin situation regarding the Bears. No matter what type of receiver Boldin is and regardless of the fact that he had Fitzgerald to take the pressure off, the fact remains that he's FAR better than any receiver the Bears now have. I'd take him for a second round draft pick without even thinking about it. And I'd also take him for a second round pick and a player, so long as that player is not Briggs, Forte, Cutler, Olson, or a starting lineman. And I'd trade Olson straight up, though I don't think Arizona would do that. A tight end who can't block, like Olson, is just a situation player. While situation players can be valuable and even win a game or two, they're not the foundation of good teams.

Hello Everyone,
I'm really glad that your coach thinks that Earl Bennett looks great in practice, the problem is that he is not a game changing receiver. You still need one and even if you draft one, that will take a while to develop. You need to trade for one, but it's not Boldin. When these people are moved, they have an idea where they want to go and I don't think it's Chicago. He has been to a title game and they want to go where there isn't any rebuilding, you are. Jay's name isn't enough for this and this could've been eliminated if the bears front office had invested in quality receiver talent- you can't do without it. Peyton, Tom,Eli, and Big Ben have them and they know they can't do without them. Honestly, if I'm Boldin I'm trying to go there. Sorry, but they provide the best chances for him to win right now. You don't have an offense for him because Bennett won't change any games on his own and he doesn't cause a threat. The bears are best suited for the draft and you should get a receiver that's worth something and you can't get by being cheap about it. You need to pay for the talent. You have exactly 3 year to get this up and running because that's when Cutler's contract expires. No one likes the what if, but if the front office doesn't start throwing some cash at quality free agents....What if? Football is a high stakes game and you need to catch up to the colts, patriots, steelers, and giants. They have more than a qb name, their team's built around them to ensure succcess. A name will only take you so far-you need real talent.

Nicole, what exactly was the point of your rambling? Great point about great quarterbacks needing stud wrs and not being able to compete without them. Except Tom Brady didn't win a SB with Randy Moss and Welker. He won three with the immortal David Patten, Deion Branch, and an aging Troy Brown. So much for your theory. Have you also looked at the free agent wrs available? Unlike a fan whining about free agent money, Jerry Angelo has actually looked at next year's free agents, and realizes that class is much stronger. Sorry he won't overpay for mediocre players to appease fans who want to "spend money." You would think bringing the first franchise qb in 50 years to Chicago would buy the guy a little time. That is all. Now I should go back to worrying about Cutler being a free agent three years from now. Brilliant.

A good QB ! ( One who is mobile, intelligent, plays with passion, and has a cannon for an arm ) will improve the play of his receivers.

The BEARS have Jay Cutler !!! Our O-Line has been upgraded. Babu has been removed as Defensive Coordinator. Jerry Angelo seems to have been humbled by his previous years draft picks.

I like where we are in comparison to last year.

This should be an interesting weekend.

GO BEARS

So I don't think anyone remembers Anquan Boldin before Larry Fitzgerald got there.

He has been making plays in Arizona for years. That was his Knock when he got drafted and he came into the league his rookie season and dominated.

Boldin is an excellent WR and would be a great fit for a team that has a Run-first Philosophy.

With a Complement to Hester's Speed. He could benefit from.

Fitzgerald is a beast, but lacks Top End speed. His Route-Running, and Ability to get the ball at it's highest point above the defender is what makes him outstanding.

Boldin coming to Chicago is Highly unlikely. That move would mean we are building to win right now. Not Later.

Cutler will make the WR core better with his Mobility and Strong Arm.

Greg OLSEN, not Olson, will Benefit the most from the ability of Cutler. Tony Scheffler in Denver knows that. and Daniel Graham.

Don't be surprised if the Bears go Defense,and get another DB or invest in a DE to play alongside Alex Brown. Anderson and Ogunleye have been just servicable as DE's.

Defense needs some youth and I think they will go Defensive Back or Defensive End in the Draft.

if Jerry Angelo is willing to go after a pro bowl quarterback. I find it surefire that he would find someway to get Boldin. Angelo seems like he is focused on getting this team a championship. If he can get Bolding for a second rounder and some others player. I think he can go safety in the third round and take Mohamed Massoquoi from Georgia as you Number 2 receiver. He is a Big receiver with good hands and was staffords number one target at Georgia. I think Jerry will do it. He already made another pretty big move.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on April 24, 2009 8:56 PM.

Picking a combination of players for the Bears' top 2 picks was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears draft preview: Need No. 1 Wide receiver is the next entry in this blog.

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