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Chicago Bears 2020 Roster Turnover: How big a need is wide receiver?

In this 13 part series we’ll take an in depth look at each position group for the Chicago Bears with an eye towards the 2020 season. We’ll speculate on who stays, who goes, and some potential additions we’d like to see general manager Ryan Pace make.

Kansas City Chiefs v Chicago Bears Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Allen Robinson II - Signed through 2020 - Signing the 26-year old Robinson to an extension would be a wise thing to do. He’s the total package as a receiver and should be the number one option for the Chicago Bears for the next three to four years. He was the most consistent part of the Bears offense in 2019, and with better QB play in 2020 he should be able to improve on his 98 catches, 1,147 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns.

Taylor Gabriel - Signed through 2021 Released - Cutting Gabriel would save the Bears $4.5 million dollars, and with his recent string of concussions, and the emergence of some of the younger wide outs on the roster, I think the Bears will move on from him. He is Chicago’s only true speed threat, but honestly that speed hasn’t flashed much during his time on the Bears.

Anthony Miller - Signed through 2021 - Miller had a slow start to his 2019 season with only 4 catches in his first four games, and then he injured his shoulder in the season finale, but in weeks 5 through 16 he averaged better than 4 receptions per contest including a carer best 9 catches on two separate occasions. Whether he’s the starter opposite Robinson in 2020, or the number three wide out, he’ll be receiving plenty of opportunities if he can stay healthy.

Javon Wims - Signed through 2021 - Wims had a fantastic camp last year, but it didn’t translate to a big season for the second year pro. Of his 18 receptions and 186 yards, 15 and 162 came in his 6 starts, so he did produce when called upon. He also started to show up on the special teams last year, and that could be a way for him to increase his value as a reserve. Wims will be in the mix for more offensive reps if the Bears cut Gabriel, but he’ll have some competition for sure.

Riley Ridley - Signed through 2022 - There wasn’t many reps for the rookie last year, but he did finish with 6 receptions for 69 yards. He’ll look to make a bigger impact in 2020 and I think he has the skills to do so with a higher ceiling than Wims.

Cordarrelle Patterson - Signed through 2020 - Patterson made his money in the third phase, but when called on he produced offensively as well by averaging 7.5 yards per catch and 6.1 yards per rush. He had his fewest offensive touches since 2015, and it seemed like the Bears weren’t sure what to do with him at times. I would like to see him get the ball in a few more creative ways next year as well as backing up some more at running back.

Reggie Davis - Signed through 2021 - Davis is another former Georgia Bulldog, and he’ll try to stand out with his 4.31 speed in the forty. The Bears are the sixth stop on his NFL journey since 2017.

Thomas Ives - Signed through 2021 - The “Ives Hive” was vocal during training camp a year ago, but Ives is a long shot to make the 53-man roster. My guess is another year on the practice squad is coming up for him.

Alex Wesley - Signed through 2021 - Wesley spent some of his rookie year with the Giants before being waived with an injury settlement last September and landing on the Bears practice squad in December.

2020 OUTLOOK - Assuming Gabriel is a cap casualty, Robinson and Miller are really the only two established wide outs on the roster, so drafting a guy from this outstanding draft class to compete with Ridley and Wims could be in the cards. If GM Ryan Pace sticks to a best player available philosophy he could get an impact player in the second round. One such player that has caught the scouting eye of our resident draft expert, Jacob Infante, is Jalen Reagor, the speedster from TCU.

When it comes to pure speed in this receiver class, there are few who can match Reagor, who brings ample speed and agility to the table. He would cost the Bears a second-round pick, but if they like the value, he could be a high-upside replacement for Taylor Gabriel.

West Virginia v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

I’ve seen mock drafts with seven wide outs going in the first round, including Reagor, but other mocks have him falling out of the first. With so many talented receivers available, teams will be able to pick and choose the guy with the skill set that most complements their receiving corps.

To get an idea of the talent available at the position, Reagor (5’11”, 195) is ranked 31st overall and 6th at wide out according to The Draft Report’s Kyle Crabbs, he’s CBS Sports’ 43rd ranked player overall and their 8th receiver, but Matt Miller from Bleacher Report has him as his 20th receiver.

Even if Reagor is off the board when the Bears pick, the odds are good that a highly graded receiver would be there for the taking, so positional value could dictate the Bears add receiver. A receiving corps of Robinson, Miller, Ridley, Wims, and a top rated rookie could be special.

Would you be surprised if the Bears went with a rookie in the second?