Chicago Bears taking risk by targeting free agent JuJu Smith-Schuster

Chicago Bears (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The legal tampering period of NFL free agency begins Monday, and the Chicago Bears are already in the midst of some big rumors. The tampering period, for those who do not know, is essentially a two-day window where teams and players can negotiate contracts before they are allowed to become official.

New general manager Ryan Poles has stated, though, that he and the Bears will not likely be involved in the first wave as there are going to be some big, hefty contracts handed out.

However, Poles also said that before the decision to trade Khalil Mack was finalized. Now that the Bears have entered a rebuild, getting younger and establishing weapons around Justin Fields is top priority.

Sunday morning, a rumor surfaced about where Pittsburgh Steelers free agent wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could end up, and the Bears were mentioned as one of the top four landing spots.

The Chicago Bears are interested in signing free agent wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, but should tread carefully.

Smith-Schuster only appeared in five games last season before he went on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. But, the 25-year-old wide receiver is ready for a healthy offseason and could be entering a new era in his young career.

One of the biggest question marks regarding Smith-Schuster has had to do with his maturity level, or lack thereof. In the past, Smith-Schuster has been in headlines with his social media-inspired dances — specifically doing them on opposing teams’ logos.

He has since then called it quits in respect to his dancing, and there are a lot of Steelers fans out there who have seen the former USC Trojan take a step forward in his maturing. If he is indeed past all of the questions about his attitude or maturity level, then maybe Smith-Schuster is worth pursuing.

Other than his personality question marks, Smith-Schuster has truly only had one high-level season of production. That’s the other caveat to any team that signs him. Are they going to get that same guy who went for 111 receptions, 1,426 yards and seven scores back in 2018?

Going after a guy who has only had one top-level season, in terms of productivity, is definitely a risk. Put aside any character questions for a moment — this would certainly be a risk by Poles, if he ends up signing the 2017 second-round pick.

While the Steelers have been in rumors as to whom their next quarterback could be, the possibility of re-signing Smith-Schuster also remains. With Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool as other top options, Pittsburgh could choose to move on from Smith-Schuster if they felt comfortable with those guys.

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The Bears, meanwhile, could use a big-bodied slot receiver as a target for Justin Fields. Remember, he is still only 25 years old and would fit the direction Poles is trying to drive.