CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers intercepts a pass intended for Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears late in the second quarter in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
After a short hiatus, the sweet melody has returned. Today, we will take a peek at the wide receivers and their ability to find a seat before the music ends. Of course, Devin Hester gets a bye, if for no other reason than the fact that he will one day be in the Hall of Fame as the greatest kick returner of all time. But everyone else is at risk. So wind up the ol' phonograph and let the music begin!
Rashied Davis: Year in and year out, Rashied Davis is the target of writers and fans who believe he isn't worth the roster spot and will be cut in camp. Yet every year, Davis survives the onslaught. Why? Four reasons. He can fill in as a starter if needed (remember that he was once the Bears #2 receiver), he provides a solid veteran presence for the younger receivers, he's cheap, and he's a consistent special teams standout. While Davis is a free agent, I don't expect this year to be any different. 'Shied found himself a seat.
Earl Bennett: "The Pearl" of the receiving corps, Bennett has built himself a reputation as a solid possession receiver who is willing to fight for the ball. With a small $555K salary in 2011 he is virtually a lock to be a Bear if there is a season. Earl's got a seat.
Devin Aromashodu: DA was a fan favorite at the beginning of the year due to a streak of decent to good play at the end of 2009 including a fantastic game against Minnesota. Unfortunately those expectations were never met. DA had a decent game statistically in the season opener against Detroit, but created trust problems for himself by dropping 5 passes in that game. He was demoted and further caused himself trouble by failing to quickly grasp the nuances of the slot receiver role that Martz was going to move him to. The Bears didn't offer him a tender, and DA is all but gone. While Devin may have disappointed, he can hardly be held responsible. What many were placing on his shoulders was more than anyone should have expected from a player who has spent the majority of his career on the practice squad and the bench. The expectations were unfair. Regardless, Aromashodu has no seat.
Johnny Knox: What a difference a season can make. In the preseason, Johnny Knox, along with Devin Aromashodu were to be the Bears receiving saviors. Now the offseason is here, and DA is almost assuredly out, and Knox is now severely flawed. Here's the deal. What actually happened this year was that Knox progressed. But as much as he progressed, he spent enough time on the field for his flaws to show, as well. He seems to hear the footsteps a bit to loudly and he's just not a physical receiver. The same kind of over-reaction to the good things we saw from him last year are happening now in reverse. Over-reaction. Of course he has flaws. He was also in his second season and he was improving. But as teams get more tape on a player, those flaws get easier and easier to exploit. But Knox will continue to progress and become a better receiver. I don't think he would be an outside receiver on most teams, but that doesn't mean he won't end up being a very good receiver, or that he doesn't have the tools to succeed. I think he does. And I think he has a seat.
Onrea Jones: Onrea is nothing more than a camp body at this point. You never know, sometimes these kinds of guys surprise you, but my take is that he won't have a seat just on odds alone. I honestly don't know enough about him to say more than that.
Andy Fantuz: Another guy signed to a futures contract, but with the distinction of being one of the best receivers in the CFL. The question is whether he can make the leap to NFL ball. If he can, he might make the team. And the Bears are pretty fair to these other-leaguers. Rashied Davis was a AFL star that the Bears gave a shot. Still I think him actually making the team isn't great. You never know, but for now, I'm going with the Canuck missing the seat, though I think he might have a shot at the practice squad.
There you have it. DA, Jones and Fantuz are without places to rest their glutes. Let her fly in the comments section with your own opinions. Check back later to see who stays and who goes in the Offensive Line Group.