Berrian Soars Into Free Agency

If the Jaguars are to go the route of free agency to upgrade an offense that finished the regular season ranked seventh overall and sixth in points scored, they are likely to add another playmaker to the wide receiver position. One free agent name that's been bandied about has been the Bears speedy wide receiver, Bernard Berrian.

Bernard Berrian was Chicago's top threat in 2007, accounting for career highs in receptions (71) and yardage (951), as well as finishing with five receiving touchdowns. He accomplished this while playing on the 27th ranked offense in the NFL, with three different quarterbacks throwing him passes.

Berrian is the opposite of most of the Jaguars current receiving corps, as he is smaller and speedy, instead of the physical giants that the Jaguars currently have in Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, and Ernest Wilford (free agent). Berrian stands just 6'1" tall and 175 pounds, and his speedy presence would bring a different dimension to the team, as Dennis Northcutt did last season.

To find out the inside scoop on what the Jaguars could be getting if they do indeed pursue Berrian, JagNation asked Chicago Bears team expert, Jacksonville native, and the publisher of Bear Report.com John Crist. Here's what he had to say-

"Ideally, Berrian is a secondary target who is used primarily down the field. He's been brittle at times over the course of his career and isn't really an over-the-middle weapon, but he excels out in space and has the speed to beat most any cornerback. While I believe he'd be a good fit for an offense that already has an established wideout lining up on the other side of the formation, don't expect him to carry a passing attack by himself."

From Crist's report, it sounds as if the Jaguars would be looking at a slightly younger (27 years old), better handed version of Dennis Northcutt, who was productive in his first season in Jacksonville. One of the reasons that Berrian may be attractive to the Jaguars is the fact his production has increased with accrued NFL season. Berrian is still not in his prime, and a wide receiving corps of Northcutt, Berrian, Williams, Jones, Broussard and Walker could be enough to get the Jaguars over the proverbial hump and win an AFC South title.

One of the main questions that needs to be answered is if Berrian will even be available. He's currently an unrestricted free agent who will likely be looking to exit what is a pretty shaky quarterback situation up in the windy city. We asked John Crist if he thought Berrian would hit the open market, and he responded-

"I think the Bears would like to keep Berrian, but they won't overpay and could lose him to a higher bidder. There's been a little talk about him potentially getting slapped with the franchise tag, although that would be a last resort because he's not an elite player. That being said, the organization may have to capitulate because the depth chart would look pretty poor without him."

From that report it appears that if the money is right, a team could land the elusive wide receiver. Will the money be right? Will he be franchised? Will the Jaguars be a player in the Berrian sweepstakes? These questions will be answered over the next three or four weeks.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.



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