The Monsters of the Midway got much more dangerous in the passing game by making a blockbuster deal for Jay Cutler during the offseason, although his receiving corps currently leaves a lot to be desired.
Head coach Lovie Smith is still president of the Devin Hester Fan Club and appears comfortable forcing his most dangerous weapon to be a No. 1, even though he made his name in the NFL as a return man and is better suited for a complementary role as a wideout. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner hopes second-year pro Earl Bennett can be on the same page as Cutler once again because the two of them were very productive together for one year at Vanderbilt, but it's hard to overlook the fact that last April's third-round pick didn't catch one pass as a rookie. While Rashied Davis and Brandon Rideau also got reps with the first team during last month's veteran minicamp at Halas Hall, Davis is little more than a special teamer and Rideau has proven to be nothing but a practice squader.
Nevertheless, Chicago has expressed zero interest in bringing back the two veterans they added via free agency this past season: Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd.
Booker, a Pro Bowler for the Bears in 2002 and the only pass catcher in franchise history to record 100 receptions in a single season, reeled in just 14 balls in 13 games and battled a slew of minor injuries the second half of the schedule. Lloyd, who busted out with six catches for 124 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Buccaneers, sprained his knee in Week 4 versus the Eagles and took a month and a half to get himself back on the field. The Midway Monsters released Booker in February despite another year left on his contract, while Lloyd became a free agent in March and has been unemployed ever since.
Neither has generated much interest from any team during the offseason, according to Scout.com senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan, although both Booker and Lloyd will likely get an invite to training camp somewhere come July.
To read what Scout.com NFL Draft analyst Chris Steuber sees for the Bears at wide receiver on draft weekend, CLICK HERE.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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