I woke up at 2AM with a start. No stranger to terrible sleep, I relieved my bladder and resumed laying in a puddle of blankets, unable to quiet my mind after a familiar string of troubling dreams.
After a few more minutes of tossing and turning, I reluctantly slid the phone’s lock screen away to see if there was some random news happening during the moonlight hours. Sure enough, the Bears had informally signed wide receiver Allen Robinson, perhaps the most sought-after wideout in the 2018 free agency class.
Robinson, boasting a 6’3″ 200+lb frame and a highlight reel that makes Blake Bortles look infinitely better than he probably is, didn’t splash the contract cash in that he was perhaps targeting – 3 years, $42 million – due to an ACL injury that caused him to miss virtually the entire 2017 season. Assuming he’s cleared the Bears’ physical, Robinson immediately assumes the #1 receiver job from a group that better resembles the tent of wounded POWs in The Bridge On The River Kwai.
The Bears receiver corps, even including Robinson, is a compilation album of youth, great potential, and shaky availability:
- Kevin White, coming off of his 3rd major season-ending injury in 3 seasons, has proven he can’t be relied upon to see the field.
- Cam Meredith is, like Robinson, coming off of a lost season due to an ACL tear.
- Markus Wheaton battled groin and core muscle injuries that rendered him invisible throughout the 2017 Bears campaign.
Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright put together respectable tape in their stead, but clearly were routinely outmatched. Josh Bellamy’s value as a special teams gunner has never translated into anything close to resembling a consistent receiver. Tanner Gentry is a practice squad hero who rode one fun preseason touchdown all the way into the often-irrational hearts of Chicago fans.
Acquiring Robinson is but one of several moves that GM Ryan Pace needs to make in order to stack the deck against the undiagnosed infestation of injury bugs that clearly have set up shop inside Halas Hall. Availability, or a lack thereof, has literally and figuratively crippled the Chicago Bears from within, and at some point people in high places need to stop counting on the unaccountable.
And that’s not to insult the work ethic or determination of proud NFLers like White or Wheaton. Those guys work and train their asses off, and I’m sure their drive to succeed is part of what got them so far in this very elite industry. That said, their bodies don’t follow the same set of rules, and this is a results-based reality.
Just ask Zach Miller about injuries. I doubt he’ll have much to say about the Trey Burton signing, but I’m guessing he could talk for days about overcoming indescribable quantities of injury.
The bar couldn’t be lower for this group:
Give us 14-16 games. Trust your bodies to survive the hits. Find it within yourselves to make the leap that makes the people inside 1920 Football Drive remember why you’re worth another few years of investment.
I wish them all luck.