Chicago Sun-Times

Voting stations open: Should Bears seek help at wide receiver?

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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.

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should have been a 4th option: yes, they should upgrade, but not with either of these guys.

I want Marty Booger back. Rex + Marty in '09 will be just like Montana and Rice in '89! Pro Bowlers they are, yes indeed!

I couldn't have said it any better than Johnny Falcon. To me, the only way to "upgrade" would be via trade, but you have to have a willing partner.

They should put forth a serious effort to get Anquan Bolden!! Their last effort was weak! I don't think he's going to play another season underpaid? I don't believe half of what the writers say and they think he's going to be just hunky dorey because he's got a new agent and he's going to let the Cards renig on their promise of a new contract. I don't think he's a whinner. He played last year with a broken face for godsake! Put forth a serious offer again because the guys worth it! What would you rather have?? Two rookies from round two and three? Or a Probowl receiver in his prime? I'll take the probowl guy! And hes only halfway threw his career. He's still got 4 years of prime playing time. He'd be worth every dime!

I say sign Plax with stipulations based on behavior and an incentive laden contract based on performance. That way if he acts up cut him THEN after that we stick with we got.

Echo what Johnny said: Burress is far more trouble than he's worth, and I'm not just talking about his off-the-field behavior. The Giants won a Super Bowl with him, but players like that destroy teams far more often than they help them. Add the fact that Lovie Smith is no Tom Coughlin.


Dammit! Somehow I voted for Pat Buchanan!

Anywho, I agree with Jonny on that 4th option. I don't want to see the Bears pick up thugs like those two fools.

Still, I think people grossly underestimate the damage Matt Forte and Kevin Jones are capable of. We'll be just fine.

kevin, you must be on drugs, that's all i'm going to say about you.
plaxico, for all the bad with him he is one of the best at his position. yes, he can be a cancer to a team by being late to meetings and selfish. yes, he is to some extent the new t.o. in football, but he has been good everywhere he's been. he will make devin hester more dangerous than the current crop of recievers. with
forte, clark, olsen, hester, benette, and him who can you double up on. i would say davis but he really needs to improve, so he's with the rookies. it will give the rookies time to develop and since it takes rookie recievers a couple of years to develop plaxico is the best choice. jay, has already asked him if he wanted to play with him, and don't think for a minute jerry wasn't in on that some kind
of way in the background. i feel plaxico would really like it here.
i feel that this trouble he's in will make him grow up and be more responsible. jerry, knows he wants plaxico so he's laying in the cut to see how plaxico's problems will turn out. jerry, knows he may pass on the linebacker and hold on to the money for plaxico, who
else will give you the best return on your investment. go jerry,go bears.

No, I don't want either player. Bad influences to multimillion dollar teammates is not what I want to see the Bears add. As soon as either player arrived it would be all about him and the hard working teammates who behave themselves would resent it. It would be subtraction by addition. No thanks!

I don't think it makes much sense to put a lot of effort into upgrading the position until we first see if the guys we have aren't good enough. Give these guys a chance. Boldin and the like will still be available in training camp/preseason.However stay way away from Jones, he's proven nothing at this point on the field or off.

carlito, you said "with forte, clark, olsen, hester, benette, and him who can you double up on.", are you aware that your starting offense would consist of 12 players when you factor in the 5 starting linemen and Cutler.

I vote no on Burress or Jones.

Let's see if Angelo is right, QB's make receivers not the other way around. Who knows what the Bears have in their current staff of WR's, maybe they get lucky and one or two develop decently.

The Bears should look to upgrade. It doesn't look like they have what the Cards want for Bolden, but who knows, if the Cards get desperate (see: the Broncos) that could change.

A couple of things to remember about Burress. He was considered a pain in the ass by the Steelers, the team that drafted him right after the Bears drafted Urlacher. The Bears could have drafted him. But he played with a lot of heart in the Giants SB year. Players like Burress and T.O. bring a lot of game breaking ability, as well as tedious issues that wear a team down.

But I would have no problem bringing him on board, on a short leash, for one year. That would give us the game breaker we need to make a SB run this year. Hopefully by '10 we won't need him.

Burress will be a disaster for whoever gets him whenever, the guy is a self-centered punk plain and simple.

We need help in the D 2ndary and line MORE. No way our offense doesn't get way better with Cutler and everything he opens up with what we have now. FIX THE D.

My thoughts are as follows. Any player has potential... otherwise they wouldnt be in the league of extraordinary athletes. Its been proven that the bears need to upgrade @ WR drastically. Hester is NOT a WR. Forte is NOT a WR. At best the WR crew is less than desirable. There's no way teams are going to let Forte do what he did last year, so yes we need an alternative... someone that actually plays their position in THEIR position. Adding Bolden or Burress gives you that. Sure they come with baggage, but what team doesnt have any?
I say that if the Bears went out and got a decent QB, they should at least give him a half decent target to to exercise that arm and the core group we have right now just dont cut it. Let Hester focus on Specials, Let Forte focus on Running and just go out and pay someone with good hands. Its not like the money isnt there... JUST PUT THE PLAYER EITHER BOLDEN OR BURRESS ON A SHORT LEASH!

I don't get all this negative dump on Burress - there are for worse players who have done much worse that are playing and playing well now. Is he self-absorbed? Yeah -- but isn't almost every receiver? Would you rather have Steve Smith's anger or Randy Moss' play when he wants to or TO or Ocho Stinko? Come on -- so he shot himself because he was an idiot -- I bet half of NFL players have carried a gun at one time or another (maybe not in their sweatpants...).

Burress is a legit #1 receiver (better than Boldin) who would instantly upgrade our team and we would not have to give up another draft pick for next year.

I've said before that Jones is worth checking out further. (It is possible the Bears have already done this and found enough problems to step away) People tend to forget he didn't play receiver in college and has had to learn the position. His last year he was starting to show some progress. If he passed a background check on his current situation and a face to face test with somebody like Lovie Smith I'd give him an opportunity. An opportunity with some clearly understood strings attached.

I wouldn't touch Burress with the proverbial pole.

One difference between the two is that Jones' mistakes are really pretty vanilla. Another big difference is that Jones screwed up completely away from football. Just plain stupid things he did at home in Arkansas (I think?). It's hard to cure stupid, but it can be done. That's the purpose of the face to face. Is there a chance to cure this case?

A lot Burress' mistakes are related to his characteristics as a teammate in the locker room and meeting rooms. The Bears don't want to intentionally bring in a problem child there. It causes problems that no player is talented enought to overcome.

Did anyone else see NFL network when they were showing ALL OF OUR RECEIVERS dropping ALL of Cutlers passes at OTA's? Drop after drop after drop. We need an upgrade, wherever it comes from, we need it.

Willie Gault ran 4.37 2 weeks ago. I say sign Willie Gault.


it IS true---what good is a quiz without savvy choices?--I think Bolden a far better choice---choice four could have been "or any other wide receivers"

Matt Jones is worth a look. The size and speed alone is worth it. I would sign him to a i year deal for the minimum. Everybody makes mistakes. Maybe he's learned from them. But if he blows this chance, I don't see him coming back to play for any team. Plax's situation looks nearly impossible to avoid jail time. But if he does, then I'd certainly take him. Offer him the same deal as Jones. make him earn it.

I doubt Chicago goes after either player, especially after the Tank fiasco a couple seasons back. Angelo made a play for Anquan Boldin, it didn't work out, so he drafted three receivers. Angelo is probably gonna go with his current personnel. I don't know if theres really anyone out there that could help right now anyways, and again, I doubt Angelo is gonna go after any of these players with baggage.

Jay Cutler has had success in the past playing with young receivers, and I see no reason why he shouldn't here in Chicago. Devin Hester was really starting to come on toward the end of last season, he should only get better. Chicago already has some really good tight ends in Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark. Also don't forget probably one of the best receivers out of the backfield in runningback Matt Forte. Chicago will move Rashied Davis back into the slot where he belongs. And between Earl Bennett & Juaquin Iglesias, should have another receiver to line up next to Hester. A darkhorse is the 6-3 Brandon Rideau, maybe if finally given a chance, along with Jay Cutler gunning the ball, this guy could surprise. I say stick with the current personnel and run GO BEARS!!


Matt Jones is young. He made a mistake that I think is more prevalent in the NFL than people realize (just because they don't all get caught doesn't mean narcotics isn't a serious problem for all young people making serious dough not just NFLers). He made another stupid mistake for consuming alcohol while on probation but if you research the situation he consumed one beer... hardly a grave error (reflective of the fact that there is to be no league suspension as a result). The kid's a stud; he has proven a lot in his brief stint in the big leagues and he's young enough to have a huge upside (he's 6'6'' for christ sake! and he has the hands of a champ). He made a personal error in judgement but not on the level of Burress and he's in no way a cancer in the locker room... just a young kid in need of some guidance... I say sign him to a performance-based incentive laden contract, let him prove himself, provide him with veteran leadership in Urlacher and Pace etc., and let him grow into a fantastic athlete and representative of Chitown with JC (Jay Cutler not Jesus Christ). If he screws up again cut him... no biggie... all the while developing Iglesias, Knox and Kinder.

""They should put forth a serious effort to get Anquan Bolden!! Their last effort was weak!""

How do you figure that ??

Angelo offered his only bullet left in the gun, a 2009 second round pick. The Cardinals didn't even bother to call back and ask for them to up the anty so it seems the Cards are not as willing to part ways with Boldin as they led many to beleive....

Think about it, they first said they wanted him to stay but he was disgrunted so they dangled him for a first rounder and NOBODY bit. They lowered the asking price to a second rounder prior to the draft and had a few hits but they still have him. Now, Boldin is going to part ways with his agent Rothenhaus because his plan to threat holdout/demand a trade failed to generate much buzz around the league. Perhaps Arizona wanted to wait out the storm all along and now have all the leverage they need to give Boldin a good faith, low-ball type extension offer that will make both parties happy.

All Boldin wanted all along was to be paid like his buddy Fitz, now he and his agent wasted much hope of getting that type of deal so he will have to settle for a modert pay increase with his home club. It's kinda funny when you think about it !!

And just so everyone is clear, Boldin is not a #1 WR. Just look at his stats when Fitz was out of the line-up.... He is a great second option but not a #1 and the Bears shouldn't pay $10-million a year for a solid #2. If that is the thinking then Angelo should have just kept Berrian.

Go Bears !!

Any action that results in the unemployment of Rashied Davis gets my vote. Dropapotamus must go.

There is no doubt that both Buress and Jones have skill at receivers and if its about getting what you paid for both can go out and catch a ball as well as anyone in the NFL however there are other intangibles to consider when adding a player to a team. Chemistry, reliability, character, and integrity are only a few worth mentioning. Both have had highly publicized issues with many of these. The fact that they have been fortunate enough to avoid jail time to this point is not a merit to them more than recognition to know their buns where heading from the frying pan to the fire and getting good legal help with be beneficial. I’m of the opinion that as much as the bears need a veteran on this team it should be someone that has the ability coach and develop the younger receivers. How do you learn from someone that is constantly in the way of themselves? The Bears have always been a community oriented team and as much as they would like to put a winner on the field at any cost how much of your soul do you sell to do it? I say there are other veterans that you can use for one year to get your core of rookies off to the right start. Marty Booker, Armani Toomer, Marvin Harrison and other that would be worth the one year salary and could serve as a coach and mentor. Maybe in getting what you paid for you also have to be aware that these guys always have trouble swarming around them and at some point it’s going to overwhelm them unless they change their character and only one person can do that. I say pull in a veteran to help coach and develop and see what your core of young receivers can do.

Sign Jones to the minimum. If he gets serious about his career and life he would be the big WR to line up across from Devin. Plax is a cancer even when he is not in trouble with the law.


I agree with you on everything except ( Marvin Harrison ). This is another person with a questionable character. The man is still part of an ongoing murder case in Philly. It was Marvin's gun. This guy is also not a team player. He is sullen, sits by himself, and again is of questionable character.

Other than that point. I loved your post and am thinking the same way you are.
You obviously are seeing the big picture, and not just wins and loses, or wanting, or thinking that we have too win it all this year.

It would be nice, BUT, there is free agency, and a draft next year to.

ROME WASN'T BUILT IN ONE DAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why not wait and see how the players we have now step up during the preseason before signing a fellon or a coke addict??? So many teams have unknowns each year and each year players step up. Colston and Lance Moore in New Orleans, DeSean Jackson rookie last year, Eddie Royal rookie last year with our new QB. I could go on and on.

Why put a one year band aid on a problem? Rideau looked good last year preseason, Hester should step up, Bennett & Iglesias & Knox unknown. But I would rather see how they fair in training camp and preseason before signing those two losers.

Also, for all the douche bag Bills fans saying they are going to be better than the Bears this year. Please wake up and enjoy the cancer on your team known as TO. How many balls did he drop in the dome over there in Dallas??? He's going to have many more in the conditions in Buffalo.


Jail time will scare Plaxico strait. If he can do time during the offseason it would be worth it to sign him to an incentive based contract, high potential for Plaxico, little risk for the Bears. He just might fall into line for the rest of his career. No doubt he would make the Bears better on game day.

Marty Booker?? Heck no! that guy is officailly dead to me. I thought it was a good thing bringing him back last year, boy was I wrong. he's just washed up. imho

"rome wasnt built in one day" - dude, our team has been close since the 06 season. alot of the same players, coaches etc...

even though we have changed in a lot of ways I think alot of people(including myself) still believe we are only a couple of players away from being that SB team. especially with the key additions this year.

and no one plays for next year in the NFL unless you are the Lions or in an official 'rebuilding' year.

Joe in ATL- are you going to the game this year? night game at the Dome!!!!!!! should be sweet revenge from last years heart breaker!

I hope the Bears go after Jones. He had a breakout year last year, becoming Garrard's go-to guy (missing 4 games hides that from his total numbers, but he was on pace for over 1000 yards in 16 games). He'd be a legitimate starter across from Hester, in a role that we need. His problems have been away from the field, and don't seem like the kind of thing that will disrupt the team. And the Bears could still really use a WR - I don't like relying on guys who have never caught an NFL pass (which is every WR on the roster besides Hester, Davis, and Aromashodu). Give the young guys a shot to play, but don't just hand them a starting job. The Bears offense will be fine in its current form, but as the Colts have shown you shouldn't be satisfied with that - you should keep going after weapons for your star QB so that you can make your offense as dominant as possible.

I doubt that Burress will be playing this year, or that Boldin will be traded (especially to a team without a first rounder), so let's focus on the best guy who's actually there to be had - Matt Jones.

I would find a way to get Garrett Wolfe's hands on the ball more!!!! Make him the slot receiver! He can't be any worse than Rasheed! Also, I still want to see what Brandon Rideau can do. Give him a shot this year. Then wait until next year, isn't Brendon Marshall a free agent then?? I'm sure he'd love to come here to be back with Cutler!! Besides.....who cares anyway??? Orton is long gone!!!!!! ORTON SUCKS!!!!! BEAR DOWN!!

If they really have this 'speed' on the roster, I'm sure someone could be as good as Berrian was. Was, because I think he can run two more routes than when he was with the Bears.
The real problem will probably be injuries. So yes, we need one more actual Wr.
If Hester misses anytime, the coaches will be a mess.
They lose speed, HEIGHT, and a former Cornerback. (40 mil)

Go get Jones. He's young and in my opinion has more upside the Burress. Let me explain why, 1.)He's younger by 6 years and 5 seasons. 2.)Is bigger, 6'6" and runs a sub 4.4 40 and a damn near 40" vert. 3.)Has never worked with an above average QB. Let's be honest here Gary Coleman(Leftwich) and Gerrard are no where near as talented as Cutler. Also Was never a full time WR until 05 and needs that great QB to truly reach is potential. 4.) His errors could be attributed to bad decisions and high pressure. We all know Lovie is not a yell at ya kinda of Coach. Not to mention JA and Lovie have re-built this team around high character players over the last 3 years. Plus you wants to piss off Olin, reference Fred Millers broken jaw. While Burress is truly a dumbass, who the hell carries a Glock with a round chambered in the waist band of his sweat pants, WTF are is bodyguards for. Oh and on a side note who wears sweat pants to a club. 4.) We can get him for far less money than Burress.

If we sign neither, no biggie. I have faith in our current stock of WR. Remember Marshall was a 4th round pick(2nd year WR) and Royal was a 2nd round rookie when Cutler made them what they are. I personally can't wait to see what he can do for Hester, Bennett and the rest of our motley crew of WR. Especially when you factor in a vastly improved line and ground attack.

As for the dropped passes, the WR were used to catching pop gun passes from Rex and Orton, & now they have to adjust to the Howitzer that is Culter's arm. Why don't you go to a batting cage and try to pick the ball outta the air, not the easiest thing to do if ya've never tried it before. BEAR DOWN!!!

Seeing as the supreme court ruled the Washington D.C. ban on handguns illegal maybe Burress should go to Washington.Seriously, though, I don't blame him for trying to protect himself when so many athletes are robbed and some like Taylor are shot to death because the criminals have guns and all he had was a machetti. also,unlike bolden, burress would not cost because after all our busted high picks and the trade for cutler we really don't have much to offer in trade.

These choices won't make a difference most of you rooting for Plaxico must already have his get of of jail free card, cause anything short of that and he doesn't play this year, Jones would like to come to Chicago to get a discover card to use with his habit, thought they went belly up also, so he won't show either....We can get catches from the guys we have on the roster now, Olsen is a Jones type receiver anyway as long as he and Clark stay healthy with Hester and Forte we'll move the ball, the rooks and Bennett will get better as the season progresses since they will not be expected to do anything, and not subject to focused attempts to stop them by D-Coordinators....Go BEARS

You can talk all you want about trading for Bolden, but it takes two to make a trade and the Cards rejected the Bears' offer.

Right now the Bears simply do not have a number one receiver. Maybe one of the draft choices will be that. But I know this: Burress IS a number one right now, and he would only cost the Bears money.

The Eagles made it to the SB with T.O., and he is a much bigger pain in the ass than Burress.

This guy is a pain, but he played with great heart, through much pain, to get the Giants to the SB. He had much respect among his teammates.

If the Bears can get him they should. It's that simple. If you want to make a SB push this year. If not, then sure, stay away from him.

I got interrupted and didn't finish my last post. My point was that it takes a Tom Coughlin type to handle players like Burress. Lovie Smith would be overwhelmed and Burress would ruin the team. Players like Burress are not good fits for most teams, and even Coughlin and the Giants have had enough. There's no way Lovie Smith could handle this guy.

I don't think it's going to be as bad as everyone thinks. Quarterbacks make wide receivers period! Our receivers will be fine. If I asked who is the greatest receiver of all time I would think 95% of the nation would answer, Jerry Rice. Jerry played with Montana then Young. If Jerry was drafted by the Bears and I gave the same answer to the above question wouldn't your response be more like, Jerry who?

""If the Bears can get him they should. It's that simple. If you want to make a SB push this year. If not, then sure, stay away from him.""

It's not that simple.....

They could go out and get him right now if they wanted too just like the other 31 clubs but NOBODY knows what the immediate future holds for Burress. That's why he still is un-signed....

He faces real jail time for carrying and discharging an unregistered fire arm and a looming league suspension after the court ruling. It will be hard to make a "serious SB push" with your new #1 WR in the Clink or serving a Pac-Man Jones type suspension this year.

Angelo should and will wait for the Court/league rulings before persuing the talented head case just like rest of the league.

Go Bears !!

Thanks, Benson, for the clarification. You're right. And I still say, if it works out, if they can get him for a significant part of the season, even just the second half, they should. Unless they see something in Iglesias or Knox that precludes bringing Burress on board. I didn't say Hester because he is never going to be the guy who goes up and gets the big TD, like Burress, or Santonio Holmes. That might be Iglesias. I hope.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 27, 2009 8:44 PM.

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