Kendall Wright was signed by the Bears early in the 2017 free agency period this past March. The signing was initially viewed as a veteran replacement for Eddie Royal, who has been underwhelming in Chicago due to multiple injuries.
This signing reunites Wright with the offensive coordinator in which he had his two of his most productive seasons in the NFL. Dowell Loggains held the same position with the Titans in 2012 and 2013, where Wright amassed 158 catches for 1,705 yards and 6 touchdowns.
The past two seasons have seen a sizable drop in production from his first three years in the league. Wright feels that the Titans were to blame for the lack in production, and he may very well have a point as our very own Patti Curl pointed out recently.
The optimist in me looks at this signing this way: First, Wright has a chip on his shoulder and believes that he was used improperly. He is also on a one-year deal, providing him even more motivation; Secondly, he is reuniting with an offensive coordinator with whom he knows and has a chemistry with. Which leads to my next point; Lastly, love or hate “Danger Zone” Loggains, the fact remains that the Bears slot receivers were very productive in 2016. Bellamy and Thompson were consistently open last year, while Cameron Meredith produced his best numbers from the slot.
All this is to say that I believe that Kendall Wright could be the type of low-risk, shrewd signing that Ryan Pace has seen hit more times than he’s missed. If it works out, great but if it doesn’t, there are a number of other players that can step into the slot.
The biggest competition here appears to be Victor Cruz. That signing is still a little strange to me given that Wright appears to have much more upside. This is a battle that will be fun to watch all throughout training camp and the preseason.
Experience: 6th-year pro
Weight: 196 pounds
Contract and salary cap:
According to Spotrac, Wright’s deal with the Bears is a one-year contract worth $2,000,000, with $1,000,000 guaranteed. His base salary in 2017 is $1,250,000 with a $250,000 signing bonus included.
Reason for improvement in 2017
My belief is that a reunion with Loggains, a more consistent running game and a quarterback that will likely take what the defense gives him, I believe that the arrow is pointing up for Wright. I expect to see him rebound back to an approximately 600-800 yard range while working primarily out of the slot, provided he stays healthy. He has a massive chip on his shoulder and will be playing for his next contract.
Reason for regression in 2017
The only way I see Wright regressing from two very below average seasons is if he presses too much or he flat-out doesn’t make the team. Obviously, health is always a factor here but assuming health, Wright would have to be his own worst enemy. I suppose if Glennon totally flops, that could be a factor as well but as a slot receiver, he should still eat while a quarterback is struggling.
Final roster odds
Let’s throw contracts out for a minute and look at Wright’s main competition: Victor Cruz. It would cost slightly more to cut Cruz than it would to cut Wright. But as stated above, I think that he has that chip on his shoulder, is back in a familiar passing offense and has a tremendous opportunity to have a really good season. I think that Wright impresses in training camp and the preseason and earns a spot. Kendall Wright has a 70% chance to make the team in my opinion.
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