By Nick Shook
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Chicago is making a much-needed move to address its receiving corps.
The Bears have acquired wide receiver Dontrelle Inman from the Los Angeles Chargers for a seventh-round pick, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a Chargers source. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn later confirmed the trade.
ESPN first reported the development.
Inman is in his fourth season in the NFL but has been nonexistent in 2017 due to being buried on the depth chart behind Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and even injury-plagued rookie Mike Williams. Inman has logged a total of 36 offensive snaps, just 15 percent of Los Angeles’ total in 2017, and has caught just two passes for nine yards this season.
It’s a far cry from Inman’s 2016 campaign, in which the wideout saw extended playing time due to injuries wiping out the majority of the Chargers‘ receiving corps, forcing the team to use nine different players at the position throughout the season. Inman played on 90 percent of the Chargers‘ snaps last season, leading all receivers in the category while racking up 810 yards and four touchdowns on 58 receptions. In his career with the Chargers, Inman caught 107 passes for 1,463 yards and seven scores.
What the former undrafted free agent brings to Chicago depends on how the team uses him. The Bears are notably thin at the position, but after cutting Deonte Thompson, Buffalo picked him up and immediately connected with him four times for 107 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over Tampa Bay. As much of a fluke as that performance could ultimately prove to be, it begs further examination into Chicago’s passing game, which also features former Steelers ancillary option Markus Wheaton(who’s missed four of Chicago’s first seven games) and 2012 first-round pick Kendall Wright (26 catches, 236 yards, one touchdown). Wright is tied with tight end Zach Miller for the team’s lead in receptions.
Then again, the Bears just won a game in which Mitchell Trubisky threw a whopping seven passes. Perhaps before we criticize Chicago’s thin receiving corps, we should first wait for the Bears to hit 20 pass attempts in a game, which hasn’t been done since Oct. 9. Either way, Inman is an upgrade, though we’ll have to see how much of one he ends up being.