Daniel Braverman, the 2016 training camp fan-favorite, has a lot of veteran players to jump on the depth chart to make the 2017 Chicago Bears.
Several reports during the 2016 preseason pointed to the fact that Braverman had shown good hands and was making plays. During the preseason however, he only hauled in 6 passes for 40 yards in 3 games.
He was subsequently cut by the team and re-signed to the practice squad where he didn’t get much of an opportunity to see the field despite a litany of injuries to the other wide receivers on the roster.
When he was finally promoted to the active roster on November 29th, prior to the Week 12 match-up with the San Francisco 49ers, many thought this move would propel the offense forward.
After having two targets in seventeen snaps, Braverman failed to dress in the remaining two games of the season. A disappointing end to a disappointing season.
Fans and coaches alike remain cautiously optimistic that Braverman can bounce-back and make an impact in his second season in the NFL. Ryan Pace however, may not be buying in. Given the recent additions of slot-receivers Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz, Braverman would appear to be falling out of favor with the man in charge.
Given his draft status, size, contract and an off-season surgery, the 2017 off-season may be make-or-break for the young wide receiver. This will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on throughout training camp and the preseason.
But he is buddy’s with Kyle Long, and that has to mean something, right?
Experience: second-year pro
Weight: 177 pounds
Contract and salary cap:
According to Spotrac, Braverman is in the second year of a two-year contract with the Bears. His base salary for 2017 is $540,000 with no guaranteed money. The Bears will not be in the hook for any money, should they cut him. It should also be noted that Braverman will be an exclusive rights free agent at the end of the season, which gives the Bears the first-crack at res-signing him for 2018.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Since Braverman had zero statistics in 2016, you almost have to view him as a rookie. The only real track record we have is what he did in college and the small sample size of last season. The optimist in me looks at that tape and sees a guy who can play in the NFL and contribute. His size prevents him from becoming a premier slot receiver but he can certainly carve out a niche on this team if he puts in the work and has an eye-opening preseason.
Reason for regression in 2017
It is easy to look at last year and think that this is just the latest example of an undersized, underdog wide receiver that had a great training camp but was little more than a camp body. He is too small to compete with linebackers and safeties over the middle and he lacks the quickness or wiggle of the truly elite slot receivers.
Final roster odds
I am having a really tough time seeing Braverman make the roster this year. The aforementioned signings of Wright and Cruz push him down to third at the slot receiver position on the depth chart. The flip side of this is that both Wright and Cruz have a history of injuries, which could open the door or Braverman. At the time of writing this, I am putting the odds at 5%, I just don’t see it right now. He does have practice squad eligibility though and I put the chances of him landing there at about 70%.
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