A recent dominant Chicago Bears defense has at least somewhat, and let's be honest, masked a complete embarrassment and waste of a passing game. You won't run out of adjectives to describe it. There are many factors as to why the Bears, who have attempted a mere 22 passes in the last two weeks, are so limited throwing the ball right now.
For one, Mitchell Trubisky is still a raw rookie learning on the fly. He's tentative in the pocket at times and won't make the proper read as much as you'd like, as an inexperienced passer can be expected to do. Chicago's coaching of Trubisky, led by Dowell Loggains, is also understandably for the most part, bringing him along slowly and protecting him - essentially asking him not to lose games versus airing it out recklessly.
So of course, these are reasons that more or less play into each other as Trubisky grows up and gets more comfortable.
One factor that the Bears could perhaps elect to remedy in the next few days is seeking an upgrade at wide receiver through a trade, before the deadline expires on Tuesday next week. Outside of Kendall Wright, the Bears' best receiver and who for whatever reason has played extremely limited snaps of late, the competence you'd seek at the position is well, lacking to be kind.
For a mid-late round pick or perhaps a player asset from a place of strength, the Bears could be well-served to acquire more than a rental at receiver. That's in addition to setting themselves up for better short term success down the stretch of this season.
This all-important question will merely define the best option for the Bears in my opinion, not that they necessarily should absolutely or even will try to pursue it.
What's the one trade you would make for the Bears right now?
Given the tentative, shaky nature of actually pulling off a trade at the American professional sports' least active trade deadline, this wasn't easy to figure until you saw how social media has been lighting up. But crunch time before the deadline, here's my primary proposal. The market is scarce so you have to take advantage of a prime opportunity when it presents itself.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers
A trade for the now embattled Bryant, who on Tuesday said he wants a trade or else he'll just play out the remaining year of his contract in 2018, would make the most sense for the Bears in pure football terms. I was initially against this deal because anyone that becomes available, immediately becomes a rallying cry for fans to clamor for. After a further look, the more Bryant appears in the news of late and the more you note a remaining year on his contract (a trade would not be a half-season rental), the more I can realistically envision the 6-foot-4, 211 pounder in a Bears uniform.
Bryant is a stretch-the-field type player with explosiveness in the passing game this Bears team desperately lacks. I don't qualify him as a true No. 1 option, but he would be an excellent addition for a young quarterback such as Trubisky this year, and as a complement to perhaps, a healthy No. 1 possession type in Cameron Meredith next year and down the line. Plus, he's only 25-years-old, so if you're seeking upside in a more diversified offense for a player starting to hit his physical prime, Bryant fits the perfect mold.
Given his recent and well-documented public outbursts, including calling a teammate out on social media, I can't imagine it would take much to acquire Bryant if he was made available in a trade by Pittsburgh. These kinds of dealings by the wideout only drive down his value. No team will make a prime investment for a receiver with upside that's upset he's not getting the ball and making it so publicly known.
Since the Bears don't have a third-rounder this year due to the Trubisky trade in April, a straight up fourth or even fifth rounder would be enough to me. That's worth the investment and risk based off of his ability. Unless a wideout is a young superstar, you almost never see prime capital moved to acquire one. In reality, superstar wideouts don't actually become available, if we're being honest. Bryant, he of a career-high 50 receptions way back in 2015, is not a star.
The only caveat with Bryant is whether the Bears would actually look to add a player such as him.
The McCaskey family, and by extension Ryan Pace and John Fox, are known to be of a very traditional variety in football operations. While regular society might be much more open to say, looking over Bryant's past suspensions for marijuana use, I highly doubt the Bears would be. And that isn't even mentioning the diva-esque act he's put on in recent weeks. To me, he's just been a true playmaker frustrated he's not getting the ball for a contender loaded offensively with Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and the rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster. 18 receptions and a mere 36 targets (what Bryant's operated with this season) would not be an issue in a less talented Chicago offense.
But I doubt the Bears see it that way. They've built up something special in their minds in terms of team unity and could see Bryant as a disruption to that foundation. Similar outspoken players such as Martellus Bennett and Brandon Marshall have been jettisoned by this regime succinctly without much thought at first opportunity. I do believe Bryant is a ways away from those two along these lines, however.
In typical cliche football guy terms, the receiver situation would have to be incredibly dire for me to see Pace possibly disrupting his precious culture to make a deal for Bryant. The fit and play would undoubtedly be fun with that kind of risk, though. Just picture the deep shots Trubisky could fire to one of the league's best pure deep threats. The screens and reverses Bryant could be implemented on with his speed and talent in the open field. This offense would no longer require a blindfold to watch as it does right now.
I get the sense Bryant is way down the list of priorities for the Bears in seeking an upgrade at wideout, but this is my primary choice of a trade to improve a beyond barren position group.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron, and contributor to The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.