Devin Hester said Tuesday that he wants Santana Moss to join him in the Bears' receiving corps. Plaxico Burress said Chicago is in his top three destinations as he attempts an NFL comeback after nearly two years in prison.
But which wide receiver -- Moss or Burress -- would be a better fit for coordinator Mike Martz's offense?
Burress would be big splash; Moss would be better fitMoss would be a better fit in the Bears' offense under Martz. Even though he's entering his 11th season, Moss remains one of the more explosive receivers in the league, and his speed is an ideal fit in Martz's system.
Adding Burress would certainly create more fanfare in Chicago, but Moss makes more sense from a football standpoint.
Burress could give Bears diversity on offenseMoss is a very smart, versatile receiver who can move to multiple spots within an offense. His background in Joe Gibbs' offense also makes him a natural with Martz and the Bears (Martz and Gibbs both trace back to the legendary Don Coryell).
But that doesn't necessarily mean Moss is a better fit than Burress.
Moss would be redundant in Chicago -- the Bears have plenty of smallish, versatile guys, with Hester among them. They need what quarterback Jay Cutler has been longing for since his Denver days with Brandon Marshall -- a big-target receiver with whom he can play catch. It has been sorely lacking in Chicago, and the Bears know it, which is why people on Martz's staff -- if they can't land a younger, top-of-the-market guy such as Santonio Holmes or Sidney Rice -- would be more than prepared to make due with Burress.
Burress is no dummy and could learn the offense. He's great in tight quarters and even in limited packages could make an impact on third down and in the red zone. He's exactly what the Bears are missing and a contrast to what the rest of their receiving corps looks like. Sometimes it's more about diversity of personnel than it is about knowledge of the system.
Burress could end up in the Midwest, either with the Bears or Rams, and he stands to be a relative bargain regardless, given his off-the-field issues and time away from the game.
Burress would add what Bears don't haveMoss might be a better fit for Martz's offense, but the Bears don't need another average-size, quick receiver like Hester and Johnny Knox. A big target like Burress, who has proven he can make plays downfield by using his body and meeting the ball at its highest point, is precisely what Chicago doesn't have.
If I worked in the Bears' front office, I'd be pushing for Burress.
Forget these two; Holmes would solve Bears' receiver riddleNeither is an ideal fit, but of the two, Moss probably would be better. He's more of a disciplined route runner and gets open more than Burress, who catches a lot of passes while being closely guarded.
Moss could work nicely in the Bears' offense, but the team might need more of a physical wide receiver who not only can make plays in the passing game but help in the run game, either through blocking or being enough of a threat that defenses have to back off the line of scrimmage. Chicago also could use a bigger receiver who can wrestle balls through tight windows and make plays on the sideline and in the end zone in traffic -- like Burress. Too often, Chicagoâs receivers wait for the ball to get to them instead of snatching it when it's a contested throw.
Burress, though, might not deliver the multi-faceted impact the Bears need to really open up the passing game.
Santonio Holmes, whom the Jets probably will try hard to re-sign, is the shifty, fast, versatile type of receiver who could excel in that offense -- like Torry Holt did for Martz in St. Louis. Holmes also has made countless clutch plays, which is what the Bears need to reach the next level.
Size makes most sense for BearsEither one would help the Bears. Moss caught 93 passes last season and is a solid guy in the locker room. Even though Burress hasn't played since 2008, he is the big receiver they need.
Considering the Bears already have smaller receivers in Johnny Knox, Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, I might take a chance on Burress. However, the contract has to be favorable for the team. Jay Cutler threw just 23 touchdown passes last season, and a big guy like Burress, especially in the red zone, could help push that total to 30.
Still, there might be a better fit out there for the Bears. My first choice would be Sidney Rice, who weakens a division opponent (the Minnesota Vikings) by leaving, is much younger than either Burress or Moss, and his 2009 performance is just a glimpse of what might be ahead.
Moss is the clear choiceSo the question comes down to, would you rather have a guy who nearly had 100 receptions last season or the guy who spent most of the past two years in jail? This isn't a contest. The Bears should leave the brooding, enigmatic receivers for the Cincinnati Bengals and take the best guy for their system.
Moss would be the best choice for the Bears. His size and speed make him the perfect receiver in Martz's system, harking back to Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Az-Zahir Hakim with the Rams. If the Bears are looking for a big receiver, they should take a look at Sidney Rice.
The more important part of the equation, though, is probably an offensive line to help keep Jay Cutler upright.