Young slot receiver Marquess Wilson was injured today at Chicago Bears training camp. He suffered a fractured clavicle, which will result in an extended stay on the sidelines. Wilson was set to be the Bears No. 3 option as the slot wide receiver and as head coach Marc Trestman put it, he was “ascending” throughout camp.
While the Bears have a few other receivers in camp, no one has shown the ability to be a quality third receiver. Slot receivers need to be fearless and great third down targets, and the Bears just don’t have that in guys like Eric Weems, Chris Johnson or Josh Morgan. Therefore, they should absolutely bring back former slot guy, Earl Bennett.
Bennett is just 27 years old. He played five seasons in Chicago before being let go after the 2013-2014 season after refusing to have his salary reduced. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns in May, but released just a month later. Bennett’s familiarity with Trestman’s offense is huge, as is his relationship with former Vanderbilt teammate and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Bennett and Cutler have remained friends, and always had a good on-field chemistry as well. Since 2009, both players’ first year with Chicago, Bennett has had 185 catches for 2,777 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has also been a relatively reliable target in third-and-long situations.
It is imperative that the Bears start the season successfully and having a reliable slot receiver is important to that success. If I was the Bears GM Phil Emery, I would have already made a call to Bennett and his agent.