When the Chicago Bears drafted Devin Hester back in 2006, former general manager Jerry Angelo had two things in mind for him. One was for him duplicating the success he had back at Miami as a punt and kick returner; the other was turning him into a prolific wide receiver in the same mold of a Steve Smith and Santana Moss. While he has gone on to be the best return man in NFL history, the WR part six years later hasn’t materialize.
The Bears coaches pretty much saw what we saw; Hester has the speed and quickness in-and-out of his breaks that can compare favorably to some of the league quicker and faster WR’s.
The Bears believed in Hester abilities so much over the years, and now it looks like that experiment is coming to an ugly end. New G.M. Phil Emery drafted Alshon Jeffery in the second round in the off-season and it only took two weeks for the rookie to take Hester’s job at the flanker position. Even when Hester has gotten chances, he has fumbled them away.
Emery is going to have to make a decision after this season on Hester. Hester is due 1.8 million dollars with a 10 million dollar de-escalating roster bonus next season. The bonus is based off of Hester reaching certain statistical goals which I’m confident to say Hester won’t ever reach in a Bears uniform. Emery’s case to dealing Hester? In six seasons, he has accomplished very little as a WR and his return ability has diminished over the past two years.
Emery could bring back Hester to just strictly focus on punt and kick returning, but there’s a good possibility Emery will put him on the trade block in the off-season. You get the feeling Emery will add another WR in the off-season (specifically a speedster) to compliment starters Marshall and Jeffery. That leaves no room for Hester who could possibly go into next season as an expensive fifth or sixth WR on the depth chart.
We will have to wait and see on what Emery does with Hester after this year, but we could be possibly seeing #23 for the last time in a Bears uniform.