Bears begin to fill receiver void by agreeing with Markus Wheaton

CHICAGO -- After losing Alshon Jeffery to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Bears agreed to terms with Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Markus Wheaton.

Wheaton, 26, played in just three games last year because of a shoulder injury. He was more involved in Pittsburgh’s offense in 2014-15, catching a combined 97 balls for 1,393 yards and seven touchdowns. Wheaton also returned some kickoffs for the Steelers.

Terms: Unavailable.

ESPN 150 Ranking: 113

Grade -- B-. Wheaton played well for the Steelers -- one of the NFL’s best organizations -- until a torn labrum sidelined him for much of 2016. Wheaton (5-foot-11) shouldn’t be viewed as Jeffery’s replacement, but he has flashed adequate hands and speed throughout his NFL career.

What it means: Wide receiver is pretty wide open in Chicago. Wheaton should receive ample playing time alongside Kevin White (if he stays healthy) and Cameron Meredith. Veteran Eddie Royal is a wild card. Following two injury-plagued seasons, Royal is out of guaranteed money. He’s supposed to earn a base salary of $5 million in 2017. The Bears also added Rueben Randle on a futures contract in the offseason. Chicago is a good spot for Wheaton. Mike Glennon isn’t Ben Roethlisberger, but coordinator Dowell Loggains likes to throw the football.

What’s the risk: Health, of course. Wheaton missed 13 games last year. He’s recovered now, but it’s always risky to sign a free agent coming off an injury. Again, Wheaton is a good receiver. However, the Bears are unlikely to replace Jeffery’s production, unless White emerges as a superstar. The Bears drafted White, basically, to replace Jeffery. If White is the real deal, Wheaton will be open.