The Chicago Bears return game has been downright dreadful since Devin Hester left after the 2013 season. On Tuesday night, they improved their return game by adding veteran Benny Cunningham to a one-year deal.
Over the past four seasons, Cunningham has recorded 2,575 return yards, which ranks fourth best in all of the NFL. He spent the last four years as a member of the St. Louis/ Los Angeles Rams. In 2016, Cunningham ranked third in the NFL in kickoff return average with 27.2 yards per return.
Deonte Thompson and Cunningham will battle to be the team’s number one kickoff and punt returner for next season when training camp opens in July. Newly acquired wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright may also see some time in the return game during the preseason. As of right now, veteran wide receiver Eddie Royal is still a member of the team, but he is expected to be cut sometime in the near future.
Cunningham will also serve as a reliable third down running back for the Bears. When he was in the backfield for the Rams, he rushed for 748 yards and caught 93 passes for 752 yards. Last season, Cunningham rushed for just 101 yards on 21 carries.
This was another smart, depth move by Ryan Pace. It’s clear what he’s trying to do this offseason and I gotta say: I like it.