”Told you we could get that #15 out of storage. Getting the band back together! Good to have #15 back.”
With that @JayCutler6 tweet, the Bears can finally enter the modern era of professional football. In trading for Brandon Marshall, Phil Emery accomplished in one day what Jerry Angelo couldn’t do in 10 years. Land a number one receiver and heed the advice of his franchise quarterback. “I petitioned for him and told everyone that would listen to me that I’d love to have ‘B’ Marshall back, but it takes two sides. The Dolphins had to give him up and I never thought that would happen.” Emery found a way to pry Marshall from the Dolphins for a reasonable price, two 3rd round draft picks. And Cutler finally has the ear of a management team that knows building a team with talented pass catchers is almost as important as building around a franchise passer.
Though publicly Jay has been respectful over the years about the team assembled around him, not having top flight receivers must have bothered him since arriving in Chicago. In Denver he threw to receivers like Marshall, Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley. In Chicago the names have been less desirable; Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Greg Olsen, Johnny Knox and Roy Williams. Angelo believed that a talented quarterback could make his receivers extraordinary. Emery gets that the receiver himself needs to be talented to make it to the Pro Bowl. He wasted no time in trading for one that has been voted to 3 of them. Of the top 10 rated passers in 2011 half of them had a teammate as a top 10 ranked receiver. The other half of those quarterbacks had talented pass catchers like Andre Johnson, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Vernon Davis and Mike Wallace to throw to. This fact has not escaped Cutler who is speaking up about the need for more talent at the receiver position.
“I don’t think we’re done at that position,” Cutler said. “I think we definitely want to get another (receiver).” Jay recognizes that even with Brandon Marshall on the team, an upgrade over the likes of Hester, Bennett and Knox is desirous. Knox let the team with 727 receiving yards in 2011 and, after a devastating back injury, his status for the upcoming season is questionable. With only 26 receptions and 369 yards, Hester had his worst year at receiver in four years. And though analysts believed Bennett showed real improvement in 2011, he still only averaged 35 yards per game. Cutler openly spoke about reuniting with former teammate Eddie Royal who recently signed with the San Diego Chargers. “I would love to see Eddie here,” Cutler said on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000… If we get him, that would be great. I know he would fit in…” Even though Royal isn’t on his way to Chicago, statements like this made over the off-season prove he is not satisfied with mediocrity at the receiver position. Why settle for upgrading just one receiver spot? Though the top free agents are off the market, there are some intriguing names the Bears should consider. Bryant Johnson, Braylon Edwards and Legedu Naanee all have talent and would be upgrades over the incumbents. And there will be some talented wide outs available in the April draft.
With the addition of Brandon Marshall, Phil Emery has appeased Cutler for now. To compete for a Super Bowl though he should strive to add more weapons around Cutler, his greatest asset.