Aside from wide receiver Allen Robinson, it's a real struggle to find any silver lining in the Bears' 2019 passing game. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky regressed, second-year wideout Anthony Miller took a while to get going, and there was almost no production (literally) from any of the team's tight ends. But veteran pass-catcher Taylor Gabriel at least offered a few promising moments in an otherwise letdown of a year.
Gabriel finished fourth on the Bears in receptions (29), yards (353) and second in touchdown catches (4). His numbers would've been much better had he stayed healthy; he appeared in only nine games.
His highlight moment from 2019 came in Week 3 against the Redskins when he caught six passes for 75 yards and three touchdowns. It was a performance that appeared to spark an otherwise dormant passing attack. That wouldn't be the case, however, as the struggles continued throughout the season sans a few productive games from Trubisky.
Gabriel's future with the Bears is on shaky ground. Chicago can save $4.5 million against the salary cap if they part ways with him this offseason, and with a long list of needs and not a lot of money to take care of them, every dollar counts. Gabriel's average production combined with the presence of youngsters like Miller, Riley Ridley and Javon Wims suggests we've seen the last of Turbo in Chicago.
If his time with the Bears is in fact over, his signing will be viewed largely as a bust. Ryan Pace added Gabriel as a free agent in 2018 (four years, $26 million) with the goal that he'd add the kind of outside speed presence Matt Nagy's offense requires. Instead, Gabriel totaled just 96 catches for 1,041 yards (10.8 yards per catch) and six scores in 25 games.
Here's to hoping Pace makes some better investments this offseason.