Why the Chicago Bears should consider signing Jaelen Strong

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

With desperate needs at the wide receiver position, the Chicago Bears should at least take a look at new free agent receiver Jaelen Strong.

If you’ve been watching the Chicago Bears, you’ve definitely noticed how dire their wide receiver position is right now. How could you not?

Their top two receivers, Cameron Meredith (knee) and Kevin White (shoulder), are on season-ending IR. And one of their prized free agent acquisitions, Markus Wheaton, has yet to return from a broken finger.

So, with Kendall Wright, Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson functioning as primary receivers for quarterback Mike Glennon, who rules the roost among Bears pass-catchers? Why, rookie running back Tarik Cohen (16 catches for 102 yards), of course!

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On second thought, saying that the Chicago Bears badly need help at the receiver position might be putting it too mildly.

Faced with their issues on the outside, could the Bears look to add some young free agent talent in former Houston Texan Jaelen Strong?

A “Strong” Signing?

In Strong, the Chicago Bears would be looking at a talented but slightly enigmatic player with some off-the-field concerns.

The former Arizona State product recorded just 28 catches for 292 yards and three touchdowns in 19 games with the Texans. Particularly in the last two years, he has failed to carve out a significant role in a receiving corps that included DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller.

On top of that, Strong served a one-game suspension to start the season related to an arrest and marijuana possession charge back in February of 2016. That, coupled with his inability to produce, may have spelled his doom in Houston.

Especially with Fuller out and Hopkins operating on his own, the decision to cut Strong came as a surprise. And the idea that the Texans were willing to part with their young receiver this way may deter teams from taking interest in him.

However, those that try to convince themselves that he can’t not talented enough to take a flyer on might want to flip on the tape. What they’ll see is that Strong can do some things on the football field that you just can’t teach.

Strong’s size and athleticism are nearly tailor-made for the wide receiver-needy Bears. For one thing, his physical makeup and ability compare favorably to the traits the Bears valued in White. Unlike White, though, he’s managed to play long enough to put more than four games on tape.

And, at least right now, no well-established options exist in Chicago that would absolutely keep Strong from getting opportunities. As such, perhaps Strong could have a larger impact in Chicago than in Houston.

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However, much depends on whether or not the Bears are even interested in Strong due to his potential legal concerns. Plus, perhaps there’s a chance that Strong’s work ethic or ability to learn offenses might come under question.

One thing that shouldn’t be questioned is his raw skill and playmaking potential. With the Chicago Bears lacking both in their receiving corps right now, maybe checking out Strong can’t hurt.