The Bears didn't make any attempts to deny their interest in upgrading the wide receiver corps going into the draft and in the days following it.
General manager Jerry Angelo said the club likely would have used its first-round pick on a receiver had it not packaged it to get quarterback Jay Cutler. Angelo said the team thought there would be someone potentially special available where they were selecting. With Cutler on board, Angelo then offered his second-round pick to Arizona for Anquan Boldin. Maybe the Cardinals were not that serious about trading the disgruntled star. They reportedly didn't even engage the Bears in talks after the offer.
So as comfortable as Angelo, Ron Turner, Lovie Smith and Cutler himself have said they are with the current cast of Bears' receivers, the team hasn't been shy when it comes to seeking an upgrade. If the Bears are still looking around for help, two free agents remain available and on the surface one is more interesting than the other. Agent Drew Rosenhaus announced earlier today via his Twitter account that a third team has inquired about the services of Plaxico Burress.
"Good news for Plaxico as a 3rd team has just expressed serious interest in signing him. I won't identify any of the teams at their request."
Could the Bears be one of those three teams?
Burress has legal issues in New York but reportedly could make some progress on that thorny matter next month. The New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have already been linked to Burress, but he's not going to do any team any good from jail. Burress potentially faces 3 1/2 years in the joint for carrying an unregistered firearm in Manhattan last year, the gun that blew a hole in his leg. There seems to be some thinking that Burress will be able to avoid jail time, or perhaps avoid serving jail time during the season. Of course, that does not address any punishment that will be handed down by the NFL for violation of the league's personal conduct policy, but Burress could very well be in play for 2009. Multiple reports have shot down a report in Wednesday's Miami Herald that he could wind up with the Miami Dolphins.
Then there is the case of ex-Jacksonville wide receiver Matt Jones, who ESPN's Chris Mortenson reported will avoid further suspension from the league for his off-field misdeeds. Jones made 65 catches for 761 yards last season but the Jaguars, badly in need of receiver help, cut him loose. He was busted last summer for possession of cocaine.
Either way, you're looking at a player with significant baggage. Burress was nearly fined to oblivion by the New York Giants for a whole host of infractions. But you also heard Giants players talking about how they needed Burress back, something that is not going to happen. Their offense wasn't the same without him, and he was dominant in 2007 when he made 70 receptions for 1,025 yards with 12 touchdowns en route to an upset of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Both players have terrific size, one of the things missing in the Bears' offense, but Burress is more of a downfield threat. Pro Football Weekly points out three of Jones' 166 career receptions have gone for more than 39 yards. Burress has averaged 15.5 yards per reception over the course of his career.
If the Bears are going to shoot big--and trading for Cutler is the biggest we've seen Angelo do in his tenure--does it make sense for them to roll the dice on the player with the greater upside? There's no question Burress is that player. Or are they better off sticking with what they have? We're introducing our first poll on here as we get more tech savvy every few years. Let's hear what you have to say.