Now, the Bears have an established quartet returning at receiver and plenty of intriguing players fighting for roster spots. It has coach Matt Nagy wondering how to handle this many wideout options.
"We have some of the best depth at wide receiver that we’ve had in a long time -- I know with the teams I’ve been on," Nagy said. "That’s great, because it creates competition."
The Bears' receivers are led by top target the 25-year-old Allen Robinson, who believes he can be better working in Nagy's offense for a second season. Veteran Taylor Gabriel led the team's receivers with 67 receptions last season. Anthony Miller was tops among all rookie wideouts with seven touchdowns. Added in free agency, the versatile Cordarrelle Patterson adds yet another weapon to the mix.
Having established players at receiver is certainly a benefit, especially for a young quarterback like 24-year-old Mitchell Trubisky. But the Bears have some young upside at the position too.
Second-year receiver Javon Wims has impressed Nagy and the Bears with the growth he has made since arriving as a seventh-round pick in 2018.
"It takes time," Nagy said. "I think he’s finding out who he is. We’re finding out where he fits in the offense. But I like his size, I like what he does as a route runner. It’s what we saw at Georgia."
The Bears are without two rookies battling for opportunities in fourth-round pick Riley Ridley and undrafted free agent Emanuel Hall, who are both dealing with injuries early in camp. That has allowed chances for third-year receiver Tanner Gentry and 6-foot-5 rookie Thomas Ives.
Nagy will be evaluating that depth closely throughout the preseason.
"The more depth we can have creates competition," Nagy said, "the better we are."