Here is the third in a 10-part series examining the top 10 players on the Chicago Bears' 2015 offseason roster.
Name: Eddie Royal
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: Eight years
2015 base salary: $1.5 million ($4 million roster bonus)
2014 recap: Royal enjoyed a fine season in 2014, catching 62 balls for 778 yards and seven touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers. On special teams, Royal returned 11 punts for 100 yards, including a long return of 58 yards. In three years in San Diego (2012-14), Royal made 16 regular season touchdown receptions. However, Royal’s best NFL year occurred as a rookie for the Denver Broncos in 2008 when he hooked up with quarterback Jay Cutler for 91 receptions and 980 receiving yards. San Diego wanted to re-sign Royal in free agency, but Chicago offered $10 million guaranteed.
2015 outlook: Barring injury, Royal will be a key member of the offense. Royal presents multiple challenges for defenses. He is intelligent and strong enough to run the underneath routes, but still fast enough to catch a slant route and turn it up field for a large gain. Royal found a comfortable landing spot in Chicago. Not only does he have a built-in rapport with Cutler, but Royal also played for Bears head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase during his time in Denver. Royal is versatile enough to line up at multiple spots, and along with Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White and Marquess Wilson, gives the Bears a potent group of wide receivers. Royal is an above average return man, and could help the Bears on special teams if the coaching staff feels comfortable allowing such a valuable skill position player contribute on the third phase.