If there is one thing that the Chicago Bears need most this offseason it is to add weapons to their offensive arsenal. Quarterback Justin Fields made a ton of strides in Year 2 in the NFL and it is time to get him some help at wide receiver.
The process began ahead of the trade deadline when the Bears acquired Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the move has yet to pay dividends, a full offseason working together should help them get on the same page.
Along with Darnell Mooney, who has had a good rapport with Fields since Day 1, the Bears are starting to build a nice base at the wide receiver position. Bringing in a bonafide No. 1 option to bring everything together would be the cherry on top.
One player that would fit that bill is Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints. While technically not a free agent yet, Thomas is almost assured to be one given the contract restructuring that he and the team agreed to.
Injuries have derailed Thomas in recent seasons as he has appeared in only 10 games the last three seasons, missing the entire 2021 campaign because of an ankle injury. The Ohio State product will be 30 when the 2023 season kicks off, so it is fair to question just how much he has left in the tank, but the Bears are a team that should certainly kick the tires and found out.
While Chicago has been linked to veteran DeAndre Hopkins, who the Arizona Cardinals have reportedly made available, Thomas would represent a much cheaper option. He won’t require draft capital to acquire in trade and Hopkins is looking for a new contract that will assuredly be more expensive than what Thomas would receive on the open market.
While the Bears don’t have salary cap issues, trading away more draft picks after sending what is the first pick of the second round to the Steelers would be bad for business. Targeting Thomas, who would just cost money as a free agent, is the way to go.
In recent seasons, we have seen what kind of impact having a veteran, go-to receiver can have on a young quarterback. Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts are the latest examples of young quarterbacks who saw their games take off with the addition of a No. 1 wide receiver and Fields should be next to benefit from that.
Before injuries piled up, Thomas was arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. He had some record-setting performances his first four seasons in the league as he owns the single-season record for receptions and cleared 1,100 yards in each of his first four years.
It has been a while since we’ve seen that Michael Thomas, but this is the sort of low-risk, high-reward move that the Bears should be looking to make to help the development of Fields.