I’m not going to sugarcoat it.
Yes, it is safe to now call Kevin White a bust.
As unfortunate as his situation has been up to this point, it’s hard not to be frustrated with his inability to stay healthy. After all, playing in just five games in three seasons is simply unacceptable for any player, let alone a team’s first-round pick.
This situation is similar to that of Greg Oden, who was the No. 1 overall pick for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers in 2007. Oden was a highly-touted prospect coming out of college, but a knee injury forced him to miss his entire rookie year. He went on to play for most of the 2008-09 season before injuring his knee again. The year after that, a left patella injury ended his season after just 21 games. He wouldn’t play another game for another four years, when he joined the Miami Heat as a bench warmer.
The same outlook could be applied to Kevin White. The man just can’t seem to stay on the field. In 2015, it was a stress fracture in his shin that ended his rookie season before it even started. Last year, it was a fractured fibula. To put the icing on the awful cake, it was announced on Monday that White had suffered a scapula break.
All three injuries were season-ending. And next offseason, the Bears will have to decide whether or not they are going to renew his fifth-year option. Considering how they declined to do so with Kyle Fuller, who missed one full season due to injury, it’s hard to imagine them picking up White’s option.
Sure, the Bears don't have much else in the way of talent at the wide receiver position. However, they don’t have to make a decision on whether or not they will exercise White’s option until May 3rd. That means that they will have a chance to improve at wide receiver in both free agency and the draft before this deadline.
With players like Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Terrelle Pryor and (bear with me here) Alshon Jeffery all on tap to enter free agency next offseason, the Bears could possibly find a true, long-term top target for Mitch Trubisky. Next year’s draft class also has a handful of great players. Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Dante Pettis and Simmie Cobbs Jr. have all stood out early in the 2018 NFL Draft process.
So, given the numerous options the Bears will likely have to improve their wide receiver depth chart next year, Kevin White’s future with the team is in doubt, as it should be. Is White an incredibly talented player who still has potential to succeed? Yes, but that’s only when he’s healthy. Which is never.
Sooner or later, it is going to come to Ryan Pace and the rest of Chicago’s staff that it may be time to stop investing in something that’s probably never going to happen.