Evaluating Free Agent Receivers

Jerry Porter should remain the top free agent option at receiver for the Bears, but here's a list of other wideouts the team could consider.

Plaxico Burress (6-foot5 226 pounds) Pittsburgh UFA
Burress has been an inconsistent performer since being the eighth overall selection in the 2000 draft. He has shown he can produce in the league it's just been two years since he's really done anything of note. Burress had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2001-02 with reception outputs of 66 and 78 respectively, but fell to 60 and 35 over the past two seasons. Burress did miss five games because of injury this year, but he's always been a second option with Hines Ward leading the way. Pittsburgh has also relied on a strong running game with a rookie QB at the helm. Burress could be the best option on the open market aside from Jerry Porter.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (6-foot-1 197 pounds) Cincinnati UFA
Although you may be asking who, Houshmandzadeh had as many receptions (73) in 2004 as any player that is going to be available on the free agent market. The former seventh round pick filled in for injured Peter Warrick and emerged as a solid No. 2 receiver behind Pro Bowler Chad Johnson. Houshmandzadeh will likely get the long-term deal if he wants to stay in Cincinnati. He was a non-factor in 2003 because of severe hamstring pull. He just missed have a 1,000 yards receiving this year, but may need a star receiver opposite him to make him effective.

WR Troy Edwards (5-foot-10 195 pounds) Jacksonville UFA
Edwards is a player the Jaguars would like to keep but he may get a better offer with another team. He's coming off a 50-reception campaign for Jacksonville, which is his highest output put his rookie campaign of 1999. He only averaged 10.7 yards per catch and reached the end zone once. While the former first round pick is not a go-to receiver, he could add depth to the unit.

WR Travis Taylor (6-foot-1 210 pounds) Baltimore UFA
Travis Taylor will not return after never living up to expectations of being the tenth overall pick in the 2000 draft. In five seasons he has just 204 receptions with a high of 61 coming in 2002. He may be worth a look considering he'll be 27 when the season starts, but then again the Bears already have a first round disappointment at receiver on the roster.

WR Cedrick Wilson (5-foot-10 183 pounds) San Francisco UFA
Wilson has proved he can play as a No. 3 receiver in this league, but that's something the Bears already have an abundance of on the roster. He led San Francisco wideouts with 47 receptions and knows how to play in a west coast offense.

David Givens (6-foot-0 215 pounds) New England RFA
Depending on the tender offer the Patriots slot Givens, he may or may not be an option. He led the Patriots in receptions (56) and yards (874) this season. The former seventh round pick of Notre Dame has come up big in each of the past two postseasons. He had 17 receptions a year ago and has been a Tom Brady favorite again this year. He has the ability to go deep, he catching nine passes of 20 yards or more in 2003. He'll be 25 when the season starts and could grow into a No. 1 receiver.

David Patten (5-foot-10 190 pounds) New England UFA
A teammate of Givens, Patten set career marks with seven touchdowns and an average of 18.2 yards per reception. He's going be 31 by the time the season rolls around. It could be an asset to have a veteran wideout to help the inexperience at that position as well as quarterback. Not to mention he'll have at least two Super Bowl rings and possibly a third.

Joey Galloway (5-foot-11 197 pounds) Tampa Bay UFA
Despite being 33-years-old, Galloway still has speed to burn. Over a 10-year career he has a 15.4-yard per catch average. Galloway has just 67 receptions over the past two seasons, but he was unhappy and eventually traded from Dallas to Tampa. With the Bucs, rookie Michael Clayton emerged as the go-to guy and left Galloway off the radar. Galloway would not be a marketable upgrade over the current crop and if he were the only addition at the position then it would be a mistake.

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