They’ll say signing Santonio Holmes was all about adding competition to the mix, and that will be true.
When Wilson fractured his collarbone diving for a pass at camp, it appeared Chicago’s roster contained several suitable prospects as potential replacements. Surely, between players such as Eric Weems, Josh Morgan, Chris Williams, Armanti Edwards and Micheal Spurlock, along with newcomers Greg Herd and Dale Moss, the Bears could find a receiver capable of getting the job done until Wilson returns. They still might be able to pull from this group, with the exception of Weems, who was released once the Holmes news became official.
Let’s take a look at how they’ve played through the first two games of the preseason.
Of the group, just Morgan and Spurlock caught more than three passes over the first two games as both have five receptions. After Josh Bellamy (three receptions), none of Wilson’s potential replacements collected more than two receptions. Williams (two receptions) receives a pass since he suffered a hamstring injury catching a 73-yard pass against the Philadelphia Eagles in the exhibition opener and sat out of Thursday night’s game, while Weems didn't record a single reception in two exhibition outings.
So while the group has shown some production, catching a combined 18 of the 32 passes thrown its way for 301 yards and two touchdowns, the team needs to find about half that output over two games from one player. Wilson showed that capability, and perhaps some of the other candidates possess it, too, but haven’t received ample opportunity due to the Bears shuffling so many players in and out of the lineup to glean a clean evaluation.
Holmes, 30, caught 23 passes for 456 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season for the New York Jets. He played in four games in 2012 before suffering a lisfranc injury.
Holmes put together his most productive season with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009, registering a career-high 79 receptions for 1,248 yards, in addition to receiving MVP honors at Super Bowl XLIII.
Holmes doesn’t need to be all that in Chicago; just a suitable and consistent complement in the slot, which at this point appears more difficult to find with Wilson out of the picture.