Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's Not a Toomer

If there's any team that needs help at wideout, it's the Bears. Amani Toomer is a lot of things: he's the New York Giants' all-time leader in receptions, he's consistent, and for some reason, the Bears are interested in acquiring him.

And they're about to make a horrible mistake.

Even though Toomer seems to fit on paper, there are dozens of reasons that he just doesn't belong on this team. Here are five:

#1. He's at the end of his career.

Toomer isn't the same guy who caught 60+ passes every season from 1999 to 2005. It's been 12 years in the league for Toomer, and he's spent all 12 with the Giants. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, and if you're going to bring in Toomer and expect him to be the WR1 the Bears need, you are all sorts of wrong.

Even in New York where the receivers were plagued with injuries (David Tyree) and stupidity (Plaxico Burress), Toomer was slowly but surely phased out of the offense. A measly 48 receptions highlights this, along with a disappointing average of 2.9 Yards After the Catch.

There's a reason that he's been receiving little to no interest as a Free Agent. Oh, and did I mention that he's going to be 35 at the start of the season?

#2. He doesn't fill our need.

The Bears obviously wanted Torry Holt (they even went through the trouble of signing Orlando Pace to lure him in), but Holt went to the Jaguars. Instead of looking for another player with the qualities of Holt, the Bears went to look for a player that's even older.

Torry Holt is not only a veteran presence, but he runs sharp routes with excellent hands. Holt may not have the speed anymore, but he can do the rest. Toomer is definately a veteran presence, but he just doesn't get the rest done. If you want an older player to sit there and be old, give a contract to Cade McNown or even Curtis Enis - I hear they're both available.

#3. He blocks our youth.

One of the most exciting things about the Bears this season was the fact that our offense has a youthful core. Cutler, Hester, Forte and Olsen are all poised to be a young and exciting group that plays off each other for years to come. Throwing in Toomer looks more like a rent-a-player than grooming the rest of the talent.

Players like Earl Bennett and Brandon Rideau both have a great chance to make an impact on this team; signing Toomer will almost surely result in a two-year deal that blocks both of them. Haven't we been down this path before with Mushin Muhammad?

#4. We can do so much better.

Plaxico Burress, Marvin Harrison, and Brandon Lloyd are all on the market, and all have been infinitely more effective that Toomer in recent years. Brandon Lloyd made some amazing catches for the Bears (under Kyle Orton, no less), Harrison showed that he still has some juice left, and Plaxico has proven that even though he's an idiot, he can account for an entire team's offense.

Also, there's this "Anquan Boldin" fellow who I hear is not only the best receiver in all of football, but he's very eager to get out of Arizona. If this isn't a match made in heaven, I don't know what is.

#5. Eli Manning is better than Kyle Orton.

This is really the most damning reason of all: Eli Manning has been everything the Giants could have wanted over the past few seasons. Competent, good pocket presence, and a relatively accurate passer. To contrast, the Bears had the living nightmare of Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton splitting time last season.

The difference between Rashied Davis and Amani Toomer in 2008? 13 receptions and 100+ yards - the equivalent of two weeks that Davis missed (week 15 and week 16). You don't bring in a name-player to become the worst receiver on the team.

Cutler has the potential to make the Bears a legitimate contender. He's one of the top five QBs in the league, and he improves the skills of everyone around him (Brandon Marshall is not going to be a happy camper next season).

Let's hope he's improving someone else's performance.

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