What has been going on with Devin
As many of you are aware of, Devin Hester almost decided to book it with the Bears after Lovie was fired. After the day Lovie got fired, Devin addressed the media and said some things that questioned his futer with the Bears, "I don't even know if I want to play again, man" and "It's not (as much fun anymore)". A little more than a week later Devin replies with "For all my Bears fan #yes. I'm a bear 4 life.# Beardown!!!!!" on his Instagram. That is a lot of exclamation points, enough for me to believe he staying a Bear. But what does all this mean for Devin? I think it means that he is just going to play KR/PR. All of this drama is showing that he is flustered with his role, and add the act that he is 30; he is not playing the X next year. Emery has also even poked at this during some press conferences.
Devin has been a subpar WR for a long time. SInce he has started playing WR in 2007 he has had two average seasons, and four bad seasons. His two average seasons came in 08 and 09. He snagged 50+ catches in each for 650+ yards. His worse seasons as a WR came his rookie year, and the last two years. The last two years he has caught less than 30 balls each season, and earned less than 400 yards. What makes it worse is his catches per targets. His last 2 years he has averaged .50 catches per target, compared to say Earl Bennet's average .61 catches per targets, Devin's CPTS is awful.
Replacing Devin at WR
I think that the Bears should be, and are looking for a WR who is a speed guy to play the X. The Bears are full of big physical receivers, but lack a productive burner outside.Free Agency
Anthony Armstrong - In the 2010 season Armstrong caught 44 passes for 871 yards and 3 TD's. The last 2 seasons for Armstrong have been rough as he has seen a lot less action. In the 2011 season though, he did catch 50 yard TD in limited action to validate his burner status. The Bears could potentially capitalize off Armstrong lack of usage, and give him a sub million dollar contract, to upgrade our X.
Brandon Llyod - He quietly had his second best career statistically last year. Last year with the Pats he had 911 yards on 74 catches. The dilemma for the Bears is he will cost a lot of dough, and is 31.
Victor Cruz - Cruz is a total beast on the outside, and has proved it with back-to-back 1000 plus yard seasons. For the Bears to grab Cruz who is a RFA, the only chance would be if we spend all our remaining money on him this year, and give him a back-loaded deal. This is very unlikely to happen, but it's a wonderful thing to dream about.
Josh Cribbs - He is primarily a returner, but has great speed. I know what everyone is thinking, but maybe he can prove to Devin that a good returner can make a good WR. He has been unproductive at WR, but his 2011 season is something to be optimistic about (47 catches on 60 targets .78 CPTS, and 518 yards). He is 29 years old so a long term deal doesn't sound ideal, but I would be fine with a one-year sub-million dollar deal.Draft
Tavon Austin - He is very fast (4.34) and skilled, but it would be questionable if the Bears were to draft him. First of all he is more of a slot guy being 5 foot 8, secondly he would cost the Bears a first round pick when they have glaring needs at guard, center, and linebacker.
Cordarrelle Patterson- Has the separation skills (4..42), but is very raw and a body catcher. I like him as a second rounder if he falls to the Bears.
Justin Hunter - Another Tennessee player like Paterson and very similar in skills. He is a big guy at 6 foot 4, but also very fast running a 4.44 at the combine. He did have a ACL tear in 2011, and did not get enough snaps to truly prove himself. I like him as a 2nd rounder.
Markus Wheaten - He is a 5'11 burner (4.45), who was also a track star. He has blazing speed and quickness in the open field, and also played RB in college. He isn't yet a natural pass catcher, but has traces of Antonio Brown in him. I like him for the Bears as a mid round pick.
Denard Robinson - (I will admit that I am a huge Michigan fan, and therefore am a bit bias about Denard.) Denard Robinson, although played quarterback all four years at Michigan, has the potential to be a good wide receiver. At Michigan when he hurt his elbow and was forced to play HB/WR, he was still very effective thanks to his 4.43 speed, and quickness. He has a very good attitude and work ethic that will be attractive when teams look at him. I think in his first years it will take a good offensive mind to make him productive, but Denard will fan out in the NFL. If the Bears are able to grab him with a 5th or 6th rounder, I think Trestman will have the ability to make Denard effective.