Could free-agent wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker be playing in the Windy City in 2011?
Would he be a good fit in Mike Martz’s offensive system? Let’s first take a look at what the Bears currently have at the wide receiver position.
The Bears currently only have four wide receivers on their roster—Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and Andy Fantuz. Knox, Hester and Bennett all will contribute on offense, but 6’4″ Andy Fantuz is no guarantee to make the roster. Fantuz was very successful in the CFL, but success doesn’t always transfer over to the NFL, plus he isn’t known for being the field-stretching type.
Free-agent receivers in the Bears system, Rashied Davis and Devin Aromashodu, will be looked over. Aromashodu, a restricted free agent, just simply didn’t show up last season, so the Bears didn’t tender him, and he will be free to sign with any team.
Davis, on the other hand, is a 31-year-old receiver who is a solid contributor on special teams. When he gets chances at playing wide receiver, he usually shines. In the Week 17 finale against Green Bay, Davis reeled in seven passes for 63 yards.
Consider this: Knox reeled in 51 passes for 960 yards and five touchdowns, while Hester and Bennett combined for 86 catches for 1,036 yards and seven touchdowns. Would Sims-Walker actually be able to change this offense?
“Most of our guys [such as] Johnny [Knox] — Earl [Bennett is] a little bigger — they are smaller receivers,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “So to just add a little bit different flavor [in terms of size] wouldn’t be a bad idea. As much as anything, though, we’re just trying to add a guy that can play ball. We’re going to try to improve the receiving corps just like all our positions. We’re going to always look to improve, but we have a solid core in place right now.”
Knox and Bennett are the likely starters with Hester again focusing on punt returns, but would the 6’2″ Sims-Walker actually improve from last season, with Knox and Bennett on the field?
A former third-round pick from the University of Central Florida, Sims-Walker has spent the last three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars where he experienced some success. In those three seasons, Sims-Walker played in 38 games, making 122 catches for 1,648 yards and 14 touchdowns. Last season, Sims-Walker made only 43 catches 562 yards and seven touchdowns, a significant drop-off from his 2009 campaign.
Jacksonville let Sims-Walker go when the season was over after he failed to win the number one wide receiver position. Analysts say the Bears need a true number one receiver, but I don’t think they’ll find one in the draft. They could find him in free agency, but it could be costly, that’s why Sims-Walker could be a good fit. Sims-Walker is a good fit and a cheap option, who would fit nicely in Mike Martz’s offense.
Sims-Walker could be the pickup the Bears need. He is a nice deep threat, who when healthy can put up nice numbers—just look at his 2009 season (63 receptions, 869 yards, seven touchdowns).
Sims-Walker would be a cheaper option with a lot of upside and would give the Bears a big deep threat who could stretch the field. If the Bears look for a wide receiver, free agency would be a better spot, since most of the wide receivers in this year’s draft class this year likely won’t contribute right away.
What would you think if the Bears added Mike Sims-Walker to their receiving core?
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