Pretty much anything Bears related on the Internet in the last 24 hours surrounded the possibility (or never in a blue moon) possibility that wide receiver Terrell Owens could be traded to the Bears.
So I asked Jay Cutler during his press conference what he would say if the team asked him about Owens.
"I don't think they're going to,'' Cutler responded. "I think they'll keep that upstairs."
In an effort to get a little more out of Cutler, I followed up by asking if that is because the club is happy with the performance of the wide receivers or he's happy or both. That's when Cutler shot the `I can't give you anything to work with on this one' look and said, "Mmmm hmmm,' as it was roughly translated.
He was then asked if he knows the sometimes controversial Buffalo wide receiver, who the Bills have said nothing about trading.
The cyber mailbag has been getting stuffed in e-mail and on my Twitter account.
Are the Bears in play for Terrell Owens?
My initial take on T.O. to the Bears is NO, but keep in mind that the N in NFL stands for never rule anything out.
Before we go any further, let's get to the genesis of these e-mails and the rampant speculation that is all over the Internet. ESPN's Adam Schefter speculated that the Buffalo Bills could look to trade Owens before the NFL's trading deadline, which is next Tuesday. Schefter's short item starts out: "About a week before the Oct. 20 NFL trade deadline, the Buffalo Bills are not shopping wide receiver Terrell Owens." Then, he goes on to explain why it would be a good idea for the Bills, who could lay off roughly $4 million of the $6.5 million contract Owens signed with Buffalo this season.
The Bills are going nowhere in 2009, only to an offseason rebuilding with a coach not named Dick Jauron, but they built energy in their club and fan base by surprisingly signing Owens after he was cast off in Dallas. Do they want to admit failure and deal away the one player who spurred ticket sales? You've got to keep in mind the issues Owens caused in Dallas and before that in Philadelphia when you consider the idea of adding him to a locker room that Lovie Smith likes right now, one that is calm, veteran and clear of pretty much anything in the way of controversy. A ripple in the Bears locker room occurs when tight end Desmond Clark announces on his Internet radio show that he has a fractured rib. That's controversy for the Bears.
Owens has 12 catches for 202 yards and one touchdown for a miserable Bills' offense. He turns 36 in December, and he simply doesn't get off press coverage at the line of scrimmage like he did before. Scouts will tell you he doesn't have to be defended the way he did three or four years ago. If the production of the Bears' wide receivers has not been a surprise to the team, then it has been a surprise to everyone not residing at Halas Hall. Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett are all on pace to have more than 750 yards receiving, something no trio in franchise history has accomplished. Is any receiver going to the Pro Bowl? Probably not. But the Bears are far ahead of where many upset they didn't swing a trade for Anquan Boldin figured they would be.
Owens is a big target at 6-3, 224 pounds, and he could probably excel with Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. Cutler likes big targets, and he's not the least bit surprised that Kyle Orton has found success with Brandon Marshall in Denver. Throw it up for a big receiver and watch him go get it. Cutler likes big receivers and it's one reason he took to Devin Aromashodu in training camp and preseason. Owens would offer that dimension to the offense, one it really has not been getting from tight end Greg Olsen, who was supposed to have a breakout season.
If it rains like this next week, the Bears will have no chance of practicing outside at Halas Hall for the minicamp. Before we get washed away here, or buried under a pile of safety and receiver questions, let's dive into the mailbag.
Q: Now that the first wave of free agency has passed and the Bears still haven't addressed their need for a starting free safety, do you think there's a chance they might still bring back Mike Brown? Brown seems to be the best option remaining given his knowledge of the defense, and I doubt Jerry Angelo will find someone in the draft that can contribute more, at least in the immediate future.
C. Washington, Kokomo, Ind.
A: This is just one of a handful of inquiries we've had about Brown recently. You're the lucky one to have yours selected.
No, I don't see any way the Bears have a change of heart and reach out to Brown. When they made the decision to move forward and not offer him a contract, that was a clean break. It's one Angelo nearly made a year ago. Yes, Brown had value when he was on the field last season but he's a strong safety and strictly a strong safety. Remember, the coaching staff made that switch to get him closer to the line of scrimmage midway through the season. Brown isn't the answer to their strong safety needs. The second half of the season was also when Brown had trouble finishing out games. You'll recall he couldn't finish three games and then was placed on inured reserve before the season finale at Houston. The Bears were in the playoff hunt. If they felt Brown could help them in the playoffs, he would have remained active. That tells you a little something about what was at least a four-week injury, right?
Kevin Jones said all along he wanted to return to the Bears and, you know what, he wasn't blowing smoke in an attempt to grab a sweeter deal elsewhere. Let's jump into the last Q&A for the week.
Q: Finally Jerry Angelo has made a second move in free agency and brought back running back Kevin Jones. At this pace, he'll have the team's holes filled by the middle of summer. Tell me I don't have to wait another week for his next move. Please.
Trent H., Missouri
A: Sorry, I 'm not going to make any promises I can't deliver on. But I would imagine--no one from either side has discussed this with me--that the Bears desire to have offensive lineman John St. Clair signed by this time next week. Will it happen? Who knows. Oakland will reportedly sign Khalif Barnes, taking another tackle off the market. Marvel Smith has been in contract talks with Baltimore. Pretty soon St. Clair will be one of the few linemen remaining on the market with tangible experience, especially as a starting tackle. The market is beginning to settle and it ought to make it easier for St. Clair to get a gauge on his value.
Q: I just saw the news on T.O., and I'm sure everyone's asking if he's a fit for the Bears. Let me guess, he's a locker room cancer, too much of a media side show, too costly, and too old to wear navy and orange, right? Personally, I think they should buy a popcorn maker for Halas Hall, because T.O. would be worth his weight in free agency dollars. It would instantly give the Bears a legitimate No. 1 option, plus, it takes away a major need come draft day. Jerry Angelo could focus on bolstering either line or get a top tier free safety. Perhaps a stop in Chicago could help bring T.O. back down to earth (attitude-wise, not numbers-wise). Am I dreaming?
Jared S., Chicago
A: Yes, Jared, you are dreaming.You can go ahead and put the Bears with the Eagles and Chiefs among the top three most unlikely destinations for Terrell Owens. As I've tried to stress in other posts, the player would have to want to join the Bears too. Does anyone picture Owens seeing Halas Hall as a good fit? OK, good.
Delayed by some of the first news the Bears have made in a while, here is our final Four Down Territory for the week.
Q: Perhaps the most controversial argument amongst Bears fans seems to have been Rex Grossman vs. Kyle Orton heading into 2008. There are plenty of Orton haters as well as those who seem to be glad to give Rex the boot. Many fans still clamor for Grossman, making claims that the Bears will live to regret letting him go. What's your position on this issue? Are there teams indicating an interest in Rex? Do you think releasing Rex will become another poor personnel decision by the Bears current regime?
Dave, Parts Unknown
A: First, we pledge this will be the final Grossman vs. Orton question we take, for a long while any way.
Plenty of football action already today, so we'll dive right into Four Down Territory.
Q: So I hear the Dallas Cowboys want Terrell Owens out of town. Either they cut him or trade him. I've heard speculation they could take as little as a third-round draft pick for him. Give me the odds of the Bears being players for his services.
James T., Charleston, Ill.
A: First, the Cowboys and Jerry Jones have to arrive at the conclusion that they're better off without T.O. than they are putting up with his antics and self-destructive behavior. Based on how Roy Williams played after Dallas paid a high ransom to get him from Detroit, that might be a tough decision to make. But Owens has become an unbelievably divisive force there, proof that problems ran much deeper than his run-ins with former wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Todd Haley. That was the vibe you used to get, that T.O. didn't get along with Haley, which was dead on. Haley exited for Arizona in 2007 and T.O. has been at odds with everyone else since. What Jones is witnessing is the window of opportunity slowly closing on his team. He's moving into a shiny new $1 billion building and nothing sells quite like winning.
Popular opinion is growing that Owens will not be back in Dallas. Peter Kingweighed in on the issue Monday, writing "I think everyone doing free-agent lists should add one name in pencil: Terrell Owens. I'll bet you a month's worth of lattes he'll be free in six weeks." He's not the only national writer thinking that way. In fact, there are more who consider T.O. a goner than think he'll play with a star on the side of his helmet in 2009.