Why Not Dream a Little Dream

Contending for the Super Bowl should be expected when you have every starter under contract for next season. With money to spend the Bears should consider every option to improve the team enough to take the next step. As hard as it may be to imagine, there are two players with ties to Green Bay who could help the Bears become favorites in the NFC.

While Minnesota is dealing with Daunte Culpepper demanding to be traded or released, there is another former Pro Bowl player in the division looking for a fresh start.

WR Javon Walker wants out of Green Bay and is asking the team to allow him to seek a trading partner. Admittedly the chances of the Packers trading him within the NFC North are slim and none.

Walker has limited value considering he's coming off a torn right ACL, which he suffered in the 2005 season opener. He's not helping Green Bay boost the worth of a potential trade when he said he would be willing to give back part of his signing bonus to leave town. He didn't stop there, he also added he would choose retirement over going back to Green Bay for the final season on a five-year, $7.5 million contract that he signed after Green Bay selected him in the first round of the 2002 NFL Draft.

Teams are likely to see this as ticking time bomb within the organization. The answer for the Packers could come down to trading him before he continues to talk through the media or risk letting him go to camp as a major distraction.

Don't forget Green Bay doesn't even know if quarterback Brett Favre will be behind center for a 16th season in the league. Last year, Favre spoke out against Walker threatening to sit out training camp last year in an attempt to get a new deal done.

While Walker is coming off major knee surgery, he went to the Pro Bowl in 2004 when he caught 89 balls for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. If the Bears are willing to rely on Mark Bradley coming off a similar injury then why not make a play for Walker, who is nearly two months ahead of him in the rehab process.

At 27, Walker is coming into his prime. He's better than any receiver that will be on the free agent market and could possibly come cheaper.

A more realistic option for the Bears would be to go after Antonio Chatman to upgrade their return game. The Packers failed to offer the restricted free agent a tender offer before the deadline thus making him an unrestricted free agent.

The Bears showed interest in Chatman in 2003 before he signed with Green Bay out of the Arena League. He's an experienced punt returner with a career average of 8.2 yards on 110 attempts. The Bears got a firsthand view of what Chatman can do when he busted an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown against them in the same game Chicago clinched the division title.

Injuries to the Green Bay wideouts also forced Chatman to play a bigger part in the passing game. He caught a career high 49 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns in 2005.


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