Free Agent Receiver Market Getting Thin

The Bears were unlikely to make a push for WR Reggie Wayne in free agency. However, the deal he signed with the Colts on Wednesday could have an impact on the asking price of other players at the position. It also leaves one less option on the open market next week.

Wayne agreed to a six-year deal worth nearly $40 million including $13.5 million in bonus money. Wayne was slated to become an unrestricted free agent and his signing now weakens an already extremely weak receiver free agent class.

The deal makes him the third highest paid receiver in the NFL behind teammate Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss. By getting Wayne done the team does not have to use the Franchise tag on him, a move they were primed to make had the two sides not worked out a new contract.

The former Miami Hurricane hauled in 83 balls this past season for 1,055 yards and five touchdowns in the Colts high-powered attack.

The Bears shelled out $30 million over six years to Muhsin Muhammad at the combine a year ago. The team could use free agency to find a compliment for Muhammad.

David Givens is now the top available wideout according to the scout.com free agent rankings. The Patriots see him as a No. 2 receiver and will not splurge to keep him in New England.

Rumors about Antwaan Randle El coming to Chicago have been hot for more than a month. His asking price will be the biggest obstacle in getting a deal done and it could be going up after Wayne's massive payday.

If Wayne is worth an average of more than $6.5 million annually, what will Randle El command on the open market? Even though Randle El hasn't put up the same type of numbers, it will take just one team to overpay for his services.

The Bears will not get jeopardize their cap situation to add Randle El. The team is expected to be $17 million under the salary cap and could decide to go another route with their surplus.

The Denver Broncos have to make a decision on tight end Jeb Putzier. The team is still debating whether or not to pay the $1.5 million roster bonus by the deadline of March 3.

Adding a starting caliber tight end through free agency would free up the Bears to address the offensive line in the draft.

Cornerback has been a topic of debate since the playoff loss to Carolina. The New York Jets released Ty Law on Wednesday. The Miami Dolphins appear to be his first choice, but aren't in great cap shape. Cash along with being on a winner would seem to be priorities for a player that already has three Super Bowl rings.

The Buffalo Bills designated Nate Clements with the franchise tag. The top free cornerback will receive a one-year contract for $5.9 million if a long-term deal can't be worked out.

A play could also be made for safety Adam Archuleta. He enjoyed his best years with the St. Louis Rams when Lovie Smith was his defensive coordinator.

The Bears are on the cusp of competing for a Super Bowl, but nothing is guaranteed in the unpredictable world the NFL has become. Making a bold move in free agency would send a message that the franchise is ready to become more than a one-year wonder.


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