Finding a wide receiver is on the Bears' free-agent to-do list once the lockout is resolved. We've talked about it at various points this offseason, specifically regarding Plaxico Burress and Chad Ochocinco.
We've heard less about Chicago's other free-agency needs, whether it be re-signing current players or filling those needs from outside the organization. The Chicago Tribune's David Haugh writes Friday that wide receiver isn't the Bears' top priority, instead citing center Olin Kreutz as the name that GM Jerry Angelo should be most focused on. And after addressing center, defensive tackle, safety and linebacker, then the front office can go looking for wideouts.
First, I'd call the Panthers to see if they indeed would take a third-round pick for Steve Smith, as a report out of Charlotte suggested. If not, my free-agent wish list starts with Santonio Holmes, but the Jets seem intent on re-signing him.
Of the rest, Santana Moss represents the smallish, quick type of 1,000-yard receiver who thrives in Mike Martz's system, but the Bears would have to outbid somebody for Moss. Braylon Edwards offers a big, physical dimension the Bears lack and, despite occasional drops, might be at the point of his up-and-down career where he accepts the structure a coach like Lovie Smith provides. Sidney Rice sounds exciting, but I wonder how Rice will react to a big contract and recover from his 2010 hip injury. If James Jones and his inconsistent hands come affordably, the Bears would benefit from his athleticism and hurting the Packers.
Haugh also cautions the Bears to "stay away from Plaxico Burress and Terrell Owens," before coming to the same conclusion as everybody else: Chicago has plenty of depth when it comes to complementary pass-catchers, they're just lacking a legitimate No. 1 receiver. And that (along with an effective running game) would go a long way in making Jay Cutler's job much easier. It's just a matter of settling on the right player.