A Deep Wide Receiver Class Means that the Bears Can Wait to Take One. And Other Points of View.

  • Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren spoke to the media about the Bears stadium situation. The Bears are looking to build a new one and Warren gave the impression that he was concentrating upon something happening in the city of Chicago rather than in Arlington Heights where the Bears are in a dispute with the municipal government over taxes. Via Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune:

“I’m a very pragmatic and practical individual,” [Warren] said. “And if we have difficulty trying to negotiate what the tax amount is, knowing how difficult the entire project is, I had to take a step back and say, ‘If we can’t even figure out what the taxes are, we’re going to have a very difficult time coming together and working on (a memorandum of understanding) or PILOT legislation or any kind of legislation to make this work, and then the construction.’

“And so I thought it was important for us to still be respectful of each other, take a little break from each other. And for us to make it very clear that we’re focused on Chicago now. But again, I have great respect for the leaders in Arlington Heights. We still are, I believe, the largest land owner in Arlington Heights. And I’ll continually remain in communication with them. But our focus now is on Chicago.”

We’re going to hear all over the place that the Arlington site is dead. But it doesn’t sound that way to me.

When I see the words “take a break“ that indicates to me that they aren’t done talking.

The Bears were a little bit too anxious about focusing on the Arlington site to begin with. Bringing Warren on board was a good idea. It seems that his first priority once he hit town was to create a competing site. I’d say he has successfully done that.

Now it’s a question of negotiation. if I had to guess I would say the Arlington site still wins out. The potential for the development out there and the potential for the Bears to own their own stadium has to outweigh any advantages to being on the lakefront, at least as far as the organization is concerned.

Do you expect a Keenan Allen extension? — @jlil10_

I’d be surprised if this is high on the to-do list at Halas Hall right now. I don’t know why you would rush into an extension for a player entering his 12th season who is signed for $23 million this year, especially when it’s possible the Bears could draft a wide receiver in the first round. As I’ve written previously, the Bears probably need to redo DJ Moore’s contract before they approach Allen about an extension. They also might have to figure out what they want to do with left guard Teven Jenkins.

Is it possible they work on a contract with Allen during the season? Sure, that could happen. But I’d want to see how he plays first before kicking around that idea. One nice thing about this situation from the team’s perspective is that Allen should be supremely motivated to play at a high level this season while eyeing one more good-sized bite at the apple.

Allen was reportedly offered an extension by the Bears and he turned it down. He is, therefore, probably looking for a big haul in free agency in 2025.

I’ve got some doubts about whether this will happen even if Allen plays this year like he did last year in Los Angeles. Allen will be 33 years old at the beginning of the 2025 season. Is anyone going to negotiate a big contract for a receiver that age?

Many mock drafts have the Bears at No. 9 taking Rome Odunze, the most likely of the supposed top three wide receivers to be available at that point. Odunze is talented, but doesn’t he largely duplicate what they already have in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, possession receivers lacking elite deep speed? Perhaps that argues for trading back, but since that’s highly contingent on finding the right partner, shouldn’t they focus on (along with edge) adding the deep speed they currently lack? Brian Thomas of LSU or Xavier Worthy of Texas? You might debate whether that’s too high for Worthy but I don’t believe it is for Thomas, whose talent has been somewhat overshadowed by Malik Nabers. — Dennis R.

In my most recent mock draft — take it for what it’s worth — I had the Bears selecting Odunze with the ninth pick. It’s a mistake to label Moore as a possession receiver. While he’s not a pure vertical guy with stunning speed, he does everything really well. He can work the middle of the field and use his strength to create separation. He also can take the top off a defense. He’s explosive with the ball in his hands. The Bears view him as much more than a possession receiver.

As far as Allen, that’s probably a fair label at this point, but he’s really crafty when it comes to getting open and that clearly drew the Bears’ attention when the Los Angeles Chargers shopped him. The Bears think he could be terrific for a rookie quarterback. The thing is, Allen is 32 and under contract only for this season. When you’re looking at what to do with the ninth pick, unless you’re under a win-now mandate — GM Ryan Poles clearly is not — it’s advisable to think two, three, four years down the road. Who will replace Allen in 2025 if he’s not on the Bears?

I think the questioner has the right idea here.

According to media “experts” (take that for what its worth, too) the wide receiver class this year is very good and very deep. Most have anywhere between 17 and 20 in their top 100 prospects.

I like the idea of future planning at the position, as Biggs suggests. Wide receivers sometimes take some time to develop and rookies may not perform optimally. Having one in development behind Allen might not be a bad idea.

But if you are going to do that, it might make sense to try to find a trade partner and move back. There are supposedly plenty of fish in the sea here.

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