While it's great to hear Tice, Emery and others in the Bears organization say quite plainly that they understand our greatest need is a WR threat, this is still the Chicago Bears. I just think it's too much to wish for to think we get that sure-fire receiving threat, not when there are so many depth needs.
So what happens when free agency hits? I think it's simple:
The draft has a number of outstanding WRs this season and I believe Bears are planning on using a first or second round draft pick on a WR. I'd happily take Michael Floyd in the 1st (I don't think Jeffrey will be available) or either Dwight Jones or Marvin McNutt in the 2nd.
And instead of the big name (and thus big contract) WR that many of us clamor for, I think they go small with the hopes of hitting big. And that brings me to Eddie Royal, a man both Jay Cutler and his new QB/Passing coach Jeremy Bates are very familiar with.
Royal has pretty much disappeared from the NFL spotlight after a spectacular rookie season in 2007. He caught 91 passes for 980 yards and 5 TDs his first and only season with Jay Cutler throwing to him. The three seasons since? He's just barely bested the numbers he put up his rookie season (115 receptions for 1127 yards and 4 TD).
He was so good for the Broncos his rookie season and they were so satisfied with his prospects of becoming their #1 receiver that they traded Brandon Marshall to Miami; the trade is majorly in doubt if they didn't believe in Royal, no matter how big a fit Marshall threw.
Let me be clear before I continue, I don't think Eddie Royal can come in and be our #1 immediately. But, after watching Earl Bennett's production take a nosedive after Cutler was injured this season, I looked at Eddie Royal in a different light. Maybe it wasn't a case of a one-year wonder. Maybe Royal is missing what Bennett clearly was in Weeks 11 and onward?
There's no denying that Eddie Royal looked like at least a very good #2 receiver with Jay Cutler throwing to him, and I think it would be worth our while to kick the tires, so to speak. The best thing about Royal is that after three seasons of mediocrity, he should come fairly cheap. And if Cutler can get him to produce like he did the last time they were together?