When looking at some of the top wide receivers, one name stands out is Allen Robinson from the Jacksonville Jaguars. While I think he is a great player and deserves the attention, it’s causing his free agent teammate Marqise Lee to be overlooked. Lee would help fill the obvious need at wide receiver for Chicago, and with the free agent market for wide receivers looking a little rough, the Bears could be very interested in him.
Lee may end up being one of the best receivers available, as all the top receivers not signed yet are expected to be back with their old teams. He could be a solid receiver to add, and along with Cameron Meredith and another free agent/drafted receiver, Chicago could have a pretty sound receiving group.
Marqise Lee and the rest of the Jaguars receivers were forced to step up this season after the previously mentioned Allen Robinson went down with a torn ACL. He had a decent season, as he caught 56 passes for 702 yards and three touchdowns. Those stats may not look great, but you have to consider a few things.
Leonard Fournette came to Jacksonville and made them a running team, without Allen Robinson and with Blake Bortles at quarterback, the running game needed to be used more than usual. He did a solid job stepping up when he needed to, which was not that often in the conservative Jacksonville offense.
Marqise Lee may not be big, as he is only about six-foot and 190 pounds, but he plays like a bigger possession receiver when needed. He does a good job bodying up against defenders and making the reception. That was all that Jacksonville needed him to do–give Bortles someone that can make a solid play.
He was not needed that often, but when he was he could make a big play on deep routes. He did a great job in Jacksonville as a second or third option, but if he was put in a more opened up system with a better quarterback, than we may have a different story.
I tried to key in a bit on the wide receivers for the Jaguars in the AFC Championship, knowing that two of them could be free agent targets for Chicago. What I saw in Lee was that he really wants to win. He is a guy that shows a lot of swagger and leaves it all on the field. He showed me that he can step up in other ways.
We can see him run blocking on the play below.
— Marshall Ferguson (@TSN_Marsh) January 21, 2018
Lee shows a lot of confidence when he goes out onto the field. I believe that Mitch Trubisky and he could mesh really well together, as both seemed to show a limited amount of fire when they had the opportunity. They have both showed flashes of greatness, but both could explode if put together. If Lee came in, Chicago could potentially open it up more deep. They rarely took shots downfield in 2017 because of the personnel.
I think the odds of Lee becoming a free agent are very likely. If the Jaguars franchise tag Robinson, there is almost no chance that they would have the cap space to invest in him. Even if they do not franchise Robinson, I don’t think that he is coming back. If the Bears offer him a deal, I’d expect a two-year deal in the $7-9 million dollar per year range.
He would be making the money as a number two receiver, but for Chicago I think he could step up and be the number one if we don’t make a big signing. I think he’d like this type of deal as he probably knows he hasn’t done enough to earn top dollar, and with two years of good play, he could end up with a big payday.
As a former second round pick, I think he feels that he has something to prove in this league, and a fresh start could suit him well. Chicago and Lee could be a great fit for each other, and I hope that a deal can get done for them.