For two years, we've been exchanging haymakers about the Chicago Bears' receivers. Most recently, our discussions centered around whether the Bears would (or should) acquire a "big" receiver to complement their current trio of sub-6-footers.
As it turns out the answer was yes and yes.
Not only have the Bears agreed to terms with the 6-foot-3 Roy Williams, but they will also add veteran Sam Hurd, who is also 6-3. Hurd, a former Northern Illinois star, called in Friday morning to ESPN 1000 to confirm the news.
Hurd is also an excellent special-teams player, having totaled 34 tackles over the past two seasons. In some ways, he is a bigger version of Rashied Davis, the Bears' longtime receiver/special-teams ace who agreed to terms earlier this week with the Detroit Lions.
If you're going to add a veteran from outside, it makes perfect sense for that player to offer a different skill set than existing personnel. There is no question about that for Williams or Hurd. They are the Bears' answer for the decision to part ways with tight end Greg Olsen, who provided height and muscle in the passing game, except they won't be asked to block at the line of scrimmage.
I'm guessing Hurd will play a complementary role in the offense. As for Williams, I think we need to see how things shape up in training camp before knowing the extent to which he'll change the Johnny Knox-Earl Bennett-Devin Hester dynamic.
A few years ago, Williams would have arrived as an unquestioned No. 1 receiver. At this point, we'll have to see whether offensive coordinator Mike Martz can revive his career. Martz is said to prefer smaller receivers, but during the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Lions, Williams proved a big man can have wild success in this scheme. In 28 games over that time period, Williams caught 146 passes for 2,148 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Here's the best way to view the past 24 hours for the Bears: They swapped Olsen for Williams. As you know, I thought Martz would figure out a way to better utilize Olsen's skills. But if that wasn't meant to be, and if Williams still has some productive years in the tank, this swap made some sense.
Recent Bears posts: Will running back Matt Forte hold out? This week was a soap opera for Bears tight ends. Why would the Bears part ways with Olsen? The Bears valued scheme over skills. Adam Podlesh is the Bears' new punter. The team is working offensive line targets. Former punter Brad Maynard voiced surprising animosity toward well-respected special-teams coordinator Dave Toub. The Bears have a tough decision on a contract extension for tailback Matt Forte.