Bears Could Add ‘Potential Diamond-in-the-Rough’ WR Amid Injury Issues

Dede Westbrook

Getty Images Dede Westbrook remains a free agent.

The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of help at wide receiver after yet another injury has struck their wide receiver corps.

The team has seen several wideouts go down with various injuries since training camp began in late July, including N’Keal Harry, who has a high ankle sprain, Byron Pringle, who has a quad injury and David Moore, who became the latest name added to the list after getting carted off the practice field with an apparent leg injury on August 9.

With third-round wideout Velus Jones Jr. and free agent addition Dante Pettis also not practicing in recent days due to undisclosed issues, it would behoove Chicago to scour the free-agent market for available talent.

Former Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook could be worth a look.

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Analyst Thinks Westbrook Could Be ‘Diamond in the Rough’

A former fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma for the Jags in 2017, (110th overall), the 6-foot, 178-pound Westbrook had 160 catches for 1,720 yards (10.8 yards per catch) and nine touchdowns in 40 games (25 starts) in Jacksonville, but an injury cut his time with the team short.

He tore his ACL Week 7 of his 2020 campaign, and the Jaguars chose not to re-sign him after the season concluded. He landed in Minnesota last season, but he fell behind on a loaded depth chart that included Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn. Westbrook was targeted just 15 times in 211 snaps played, finishing with 10 catches for 68 yards in 2021.

Peter Borkowski of SB Nation’s Windy City Gridiron still thinks Westbrook has the potential to surprise in the right situation, and he thinks the 28-year-old receiver’s speed would be a good fit for Chicago’s offense.

“A potential diamond-in-the-rough type guy, Westbrook has the speed (a 4.39 40-yard dash) to fit in nicely with all the other speedsters the Bears employ,” Borkowski wrote, also noting the veteran free agent will come cheap.

“Maybe Westbrook just isn’t cut out to be in the NFL, or maybe he just needs to find himself in the right system. He’s not gonna cost a ton of money, so it might be worth it for someone to take a flyer on the 28-year-old and see if he can get back to putting up close to 700 yards,” Borkowski added.

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Westbrook Turned Down Opportunity to Play in Minnesota Again, Report Says

According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, Westbrook turned down an offer to play for the Vikings this offseason, so he might be interested in the opportunity to get revenge against his former team twice a year, particularly if he feels he didn’t get a fair opportunity in Minnesota.

He would certainly get a shot at catching passes from Bears quarterback Justin Fields, as Chicago’s WRs room is as thin as it’s been in a while. Westbrook had over 700 yards receiving in 2018 and 660 yards in 2019, so he’s capable of being a solid contributor on offense.

Westbrook also has experience as a punt returner, which could be attractive to the Bears. He has 69 career punt returns, with an average of 9.3 yards per return and a touchdown over his NFL career, and if he’s healthy, he could certainly be worth taking a flier for a Bears team fraught with injuries at the position.

READ NEXT: Bears WR Gets Carted Off With Potentially Serious Leg Injury: Report

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