When Alshon Jeffery left the Chicago Bears in free agency, the wide receiver position suddenly became a huge need. While they didn’t make any splashes, they did add players like Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz to the mix. New additions like them will do their best to fill the hole that Jeffery left. The most under-the-radar addition to that group, though, is undrafted rookie Tanner Gentry.
Gentry was one of the most productive wide outs in college football last season. He finished the year with 72 receptions, 1,326 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns as a member of the Wyoming Cowboys. Along with quarterback Josh Allen and running back Brian Hill, he was a part of a high-octane offense that made it to the Poinsettia Bowl last year.
Gentry took on the role of the No. 1 receiver in Wyoming’s offense, and rightfully so. He is a physical and athletic wide out who has great hands and a fantastic catch radius. He plays best in the X and Z positions: the outside spots. He's not a burner in the open field, and he sometimes gets jammed at the line of scrimmage. However, he's a solid, well-rounded receiver with some upside.
Age: 22 years old
Weight: 210 pounds
Contract and salary cap
According to Over the Cap, Gentry is currently signed to a three-year, $1,665,000 deal with no guaranteed money, incentive bonuses or dead cap.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Gentry may be the most talented undrafted free agent that the Bears signed this year. He has a higher upside than a lot of the players whom he will battling for a roster spot. If he shows up in training camp, then he could possibly end up on the 53-man roster.
Reason for regression in 2017
While the Bears don't have a bonafide No. 1 receiver, they have a lot of good players at the position. The likes of Cameron Meredith, Kevin White, Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright are all likely locks to make the team. One could make an argument that Victor Cruz belongs in that conversation, as well. That's at least four, possibly five roster spots locked up. The Bears usually carried six wide receivers on their roster last year, so it's likely they may do so again this year. Gentry will likely have to beat out Deonte Thompson, Rueben Randle, Daniel Braverman, Josh Bellamy and Titus Davis to make the team.
Final roster odds
Gentry is going to need an impressive training camp and preseason to make the 53-man roster. He faces stiff competition from players who have actually played in the pros before. While it’s a battle he could end up winning, it's unlikely that he will make the final roster.
However, don't rule out Gentry as a possibility for the practice squad. He’s too good of a player to just let walk away. If he ends up not making the team, then the Bears should at least find a way to place him on their practice squad.