Bears

Buyer beware: Top wide receivers on the market

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Buyer beware: Top wide receivers on the market

Rare will be the day that goes by without free agent assessments and this year, with the Bears having cap space, clear needs and a new GM with a mandate to move, ones that address wide receivers in particular are of interest.

Don Banks over at SI.com assumes the role of devils advocate with respect to the cast of wideouts coming free (well, definitely not free in the fiduciary sense) as he posits some buyer-bewares on some of the bigger name receivers. The Bears have had first-hand experience with just about all of the likely suspects over the past 27 games.

Steve Johnson lit up the Bears for 145 yards on 11 catches when the Bears saw the Buffalo Bills in Toronto last year. But Johnson displayed a maturity shortfall and for what youre going to have to pay a franchise-grade receiver, thats not worth the risk.

The Bears see the Philadelphia Eagles just about every year so they know a little about DeSean Jackson who managed just 2 catches for 26 yards last November and 2 for 16 this season. Don pegs him as a me-first character risk and Jackson likely hasnt made Lovie Smith say we gotta get this guy based on what Jacksons done to Smiths defenses.

Vincent Jackson had his way for 165 yards and 7 catches when the Bears were beating the San Diego Chargers (and losing Jay Cutler) this season. Hes had a couple DUI issues and whether a family oriented organization will open the vault for that is an unknown.

Dwayne Bowe was Kansas Citys No. 1 receiver when Phil Emery was with Kansas City Chiefs personnel. Bowe has shown some toughness questions, which wont play well in the meeting rooms of coach Darryl Drake and offense of Mike Tice, and his 4 catches for 49 yards didnt include the Hail Mary this season.

Wes Welker put 115 yards and 8 catches on the Bears in Dec. 2010 but hes 31 and if he isnt bringing Tom Brady with him to Chicago...

The best combo platter is developing to be New Orleans Marques Colston, whos 6-4, a consistent 70-catch1,000-yard receiver.

The Bears didnt have to deal with Colston in week two because hed broken his collarbone the week before against the Packers. He was supposed to miss four weeks and missed two -- think that kind of tough wideout would work in Chicago?

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.