Why Bears unlikely to view DK, Golladay as answer to WR need originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
There's no dancing around the Bears' need at wide receiver. Aside from the offensive line, it's probably the biggest area general manager Ryan Poles needs to address in the near future.
The Bears have Darnell Mooney, who will have a chance to blossom as a No. 1 receiver this fall, and drafted do-it-all rookie Velus Jones Jr. in the third round in April. Veterans Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, Tajae Sharpe, and Dante Pettis round out an overall "meh" group for Justin Fields to target.
Given the Bears' lack of proven talent at wideout, it's understandable that every time a proven commodity appears to be kind of, maybe, sort of available, fans clamor to bring him to the Windy City.
What if we trade Robert Quinn for DK Metcalf?
Or Terry McLaurin?
Who says no?
Is a trade for Kenny Golladay possible?
With minicamp done, we're now in the thick of the offseason drag, so I don't begrudge anyone for wanting to talk about hypotheticals. No matter how unlikely they are.
Conjuring up images of Metcalf or McLaurin outracing defenses after snagging a dart from Fields is exciting and brings hope. Anything is possible, right?
Yes, but in this case … no.
The Bears will fix their wide receiver issues eventually (I think). But Metcalf, McLaurin, and Golladay are unlikely to be part of the solution.
On the Metcalf front, the Seattle Seahawks had ample time this offseason to trade the 24-year-old star who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. If the Seahawks didn't view Metcalf as a building block to their post-Russell Wilson rebuild, they could have done what the Tennessee Titans did with A.J. Brown and shipped him off for a first-round pick to jumpstart their next era.
Metcalf was present for the voluntary portion of the offseason program before being absent for the Seahawks' mandatory minicamp. Both coach Pete Carroll and Metcalf have said they plan to get a deal done. Seahawks general manager John Schneider has spent a decade working out extensions with stars like Metcalf, and Seattle normally gets such deals done closer to training camp.
Even if Metcalf and the Seahawks reach an impasse, it would seem unlikely the Bears would be an option.
First off, the price of any Metcalf trade would start at one first-round pick. Given that Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus spent their first draft without a first-round pick, it's unlikely they'd want to surrender more top draft capital even for a player of Metcalf's talent.
On top of the draft capital it would take to pull off the trade, the Bears would have to shell out for the massive extension Metcalf desires, taking a large chunk out of the cap space they are set to have in 2023 and 2024.
The NFL has shifted in the way it views paying wide receivers. In the past, wide receivers rarely offered substantial contributions straight out of college, with their best years normally coming during their second contract.
But with the emphasis on the passing game exploding in the last decade, receivers now enter the NFL ready to contribute right out of the gates. Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase were drafted and blossomed into stars immediately, as did Metcalf, McLaurin, and Brown.
Why pay someone $24 million a year when you believe you can get similar production for $5 million?
That's why the Titans chose to trade Brown instead of paying him and use that pick to draft his replacement in Treylon Burks.
The best way to build a winning roster in the NFL is to pay premium money for offensive tackles, edge rushers, and, of course, the quarterback post-rookie deal. Receivers like Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Jefferson, Chase, and Metcalf all deserve big-money deals, but those come at a cost elsewhere on the roster that doesn't make sense for the rebuilding Bears.
The best way for the Bears to fix their wide receiver room is to use a high draft pick next year on a player like Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Kayshon Boutte, or Jordan Addison, who would be a good compliment to Mooney.
They can then use what is expected to be $100 million in salary-cap space to fix a suspect offensive line and add a pass rusher or two.
Metcalf's situation is similar to McLaurin's. The Washington Commanders reportedly have money earmarked for an extension for the young wide receiver, so it's unlikely he'll be available in a trade this offseason.
That brings us to Golladay.
The 28-year-old is coming off a dismal season for the New York Giants, in which he caught 37 passes for 521 yards and zero touchdowns.
The Giants are currently in cap hell. Trading Golladay would allow them to escape his $21.15 million cap hit.
Any team trading for Golladay would be on the hook for his $13 million salary this season. According to Spotrac, the Bears currently have just under $22 million available, with rookie Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker still unsigned. So the Bears can afford to take a swing on Golladay, but, once again, that move doesn't fit with the Bears' current situation.
Poles and Eberflus have said they would look at any way to improve the roster. However, that has its limitations. Remember, despite a need on the interior defensive line, the Bears didn't reach out to Akiem Hicks to bring him back.
This is the ground floor of a rebuild with a lot of the work starting next offseason. Eberflus and Poles would undoubtedly like to have as much salary cap available to roll over into next offseason's piggy bank.
Spending $13 million of it on a 28-year-old Golladay after his lackluster 2021 season doesn't jive with the Bears' plan or timeline. Even if that move works out, it might add one win to the Bears' ledger in 2021. That's a lot to spend for a minimal increase in the win column.
I would expect the Bears to enter camp with the group of wide receivers already on the roster. They could take a cheap flier on a guy like Will Fuller or Dede Westbrook, but expect the WR corps to be Mooney, Pringle, St. Brown, and Jones.
Poles and Eberflus must address the Bears' receiver issues, but don't expect Metcalf, McLaurin, or Golladay to be the answer.