The Bears enter what could be a transformational offseason with around $100 million in salary cap space and the No. 1 pick in the draft. General manager Ryan Poles has holes to fill across the roster, but a big focus of his offseason should be surrounding quarterback Justin Fields with talented players who can help him grow.
The offensive line will be priority No. 1, but the Bears must also add weapons to their offensive arsenal.
The 2023 free-agent class is relatively thin, but a well-known veteran hit the market Wednesday when the Tennessee Titans released 30-year-old Robert Woods.
Woods is no longer in his prime, but he could serve as a low-risk, high-reward option for the Bears to put alongside Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool.
After starting his career in Buffalo, Woods joined the Rams in 2017 and enjoyed a tremendous five-year run in Los Angeles. He racked up 1,219 yards in 2018 and followed that with 1,134 yards in 2019. He caught 90 passes for 936 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020 before tearing his ACL nine games into the 2021 season.
Woods didn't look like his old self during his lone season in Tennessee. Coming off an ACL tear and playing in a bad offense, the 2013 second-round pick caught 53 passes for 527 yards and two scores while playing in all 17 games for the Titans.
However, Woods remains one of the best run-blocking wide receivers in the NFL. He finished the season as ProFootballFocus' second-highest graded run-blocking receiver, who saw at least 300 run-block snaps (76.4).
Since 2017, Woods has only one season in which he received a sub-70 grade as a run-blocker from PFF.
The Bears value run-blocking and versatility in their wide receivers.
Woods checks both boxes.
According to PFF, Woods played 229 snaps in the slot and 567 out wide this past season.
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Adding a veteran receiver who is pretty sure-handed (5.8 career drop percentage), can play inside and out, is a good run-blocker, and has played in a similar system should intrigue the Bears. He would also allow them not to rely on Equanimeous St. Brown and Velus Jones Jr. to be more than minor role receivers in 2023.
Woods won't move the needle significantly, but he will raise the floor of what was a subpar unit in 2022. If he's willing to take a cheap, prove-it deal, he's someone the Bears could be interested in signing.