Adding Muhammad has Dual Benefit

Muhsin Muhammad instantly becomes the best receiver on the roster and the move gives the team flexibility with the fourth pick in the draft.

Despite giving Muhammad $30 million to be their go-to receiver, the Bears may still draft a wideout in the first round.

In 2004, Muhammad went to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his nine-year career. Even though Muhammad was the lone threat in the Carolina passing game after Steve Smith went down in the season opener with broken leg, he was able to post 93 receptions and led NFL receivers in yardage (1,405) and touchdowns (16).

The Bears wideouts combined for 111 receptions for 1,561 yards and three touchdowns last year.

Muhammad will be expected to be a leader for a group of receivers that collectively has 13 career touchdown receptions with David Terrell being the leader with 9.

"I don't think there is one person that's a Superman in this sport that can totally revolutionize or change a team," Muhammad said. "But I have a lot of experience at what I do and I'm going to bring that experience to Chicago. I'm going to bring my leadership skills and hopefully I influence enough people to make the team better."

The former second round draft choice in the 1996 draft has 578 career receptions for 7,751 yards, 44 touchdowns and an average of 13.4 yards per catch. He led the NFC in receptions in 1999 and 2000 with 96 and 102 catches respectively.

Adding Michigan's Braylon Edwards or Mike Williams from USC would give Rex Grossman two physical receivers to rely on. If they choose, the Bears could then cut David Terrell or allow him to compete for the third receiver spot.

The Bears may now consider adding a running back with the fourth overall choice. The position is the deepest in the draft and has three legitimate top ten choices. Cedric Benson of Texas may be gone by the time the Bears are on the board, but either Auburn's Ronnie Brown or Cadillac Williams should be available.

"It's a real good class for running backs, top to bottom," Angelo said. "I would liken it to the receiver class last year, not only the quantity but also the quality. It's very, very good."

Brown impressed all in attendance at the NFL combine on Saturday by posting forty times of 4.48 and then 4.32. Neither Williams nor Benson ran at the combine.

The final option the addition of Muhammad presents is trading the fourth pick. While the Bears need playmakers at receiver and running back, upgrading an offensive line that allowed a franchise worst 66 sacks is also a priority.

Without a third round pick it will be difficult to address all three needs through the draft. Trading down would still allow the Bears to take a running back or receiver and use the additional pick to add depth on the o-line.

The problem is creating a market where a team would be willing to part with additional draft choices to move up.

"That is very hard to do, very, very hard to trade out," Angelo said. "I can't tell you how many teams I talked to. I talked to one team that was in the top 10 and he said: `Jerry, I couldn't give it away'. I said, boy, I know that pain. That happens sometimes. That is why you have to get a little bit lucky and you have to have a plan on why (you want to trade down). We just have to wait and see."


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