Key losses: Kevin White
The most intriguing, yet most mercurial receiving corps in the division arguably belongs to the Chicago Bears. In a matter of years, the unit has gone from a barren wasteland to a high-priced group that could turn into one of the best in the NFL.
Allen Robinson returns to lead the group after a somewhat disappointing first year in Chicago. Nobody wants to enter free agency coming off of a serious injury, but that was exactly what happened to Robinson as he missed basically all of 2017 with a torn ACL, his last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bears though, were desperate to land a top-flight wideout at the time, and gave Robinson a three-year, $42 million deal. He missed three games last year, and recorded less than 800 yards. Similar numbers would likely make the Bears think hard about bringing him back in 2020, but a deeper receiver room could help draw attention away from him, and help him get more favorable matchups.
That depth will include second-year standout Anthony Miller, who led the Bears in touchdown receptions despite battling a shoulder injury. Fourth-round selection Riley Ridley, brother of Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, is a physical wideout with great hands and questionable speed, who will also challenge for snaps.
The Bears also struck twice in free agency at the position. Taylor Gabriel gives quarterback Mitchell Trubisky a speedy outside threat, something that jettisoned former first round pick Kevin White never became for Chicago.
In addition, the Bears signed former Minnesota Viking Cordarelle Patterson, who has a penchant for becoming invisible for long stretches on offense, but has excelled as a kick returner. Patterson has become incredibly versatile; he piled up a eyebrow-raising 42 rushing attempts for the New England Patriots in 2018.
It’s the deepest group of receivers in the Windy City in years, but one that is made up of several players with much to prove. Considering head coach Matt Nagy’s exotic, unpredictable offense, count on a variety of different looks from this unit. That could also mean a reduction in snaps for certain players used to carrying a bigger load.
Which NFC North team do you think has the best group of wide receivers? Let us know in the comments section below.