Bears Free Agent Target: Jakobi Meyers
|Sunday, January 29, 2023, 9:32 AM- -|
As we continue diving into potential free agent fits and/or targets for Chicago, you will notice that it is very offensive-heavy right now. That is because the Bears were a terrible offensive team last season despite the growth of Justin Fields at QB. He led the team in rushing despite missing some time toward the end of the season, and the Bears led the NFL in average rushing yards per game.
A big reason for that was Fields's play, as his legs will always be a massive part of his game. However, if Fields wants to last in this league, he will need to become a better passer. That is the next stage of his development process, as the passing game has yet to go well for him thus far.
You could argue that a lack of weapons is why, but even when he makes the throws he needs to, the ball is often off-target as nearly 40% of his passes last season were off the mark. That was the worst among all starters with at least five starts, and that is not a list you want to be on.
To fix the passing game, the offensive line must protect better, but the Bears also need to invest in a true No. 1 WR option, or the very worst more weapons capable of producing. Jakobi Meyers could be one of those options, as his tenure with the New England Patriots is coming to an end.
The 6-2 200 pounder just finished his fourth season with the Patriots and put together a decent showing in an offense with no identity. Meyers brought in 67 receptions for 804 yards for the year while adding six touchdowns to the mix. Looking at his career marks, those numbers align with what he has done the past three seasons, as he has averaged better than 800 yards the past three years.
The touchdowns have been lacking as he failed to record a TD in his first two seasons and then went on to grab two in 2021. With his six last year, Meyers not only tripled his career output but is starting to show the type of player he is. With the Bears trading for N'Keal Harry last season and how that played out, you can understand why some fans may be skeptical about bringing in another New England WR.
Unlike Harry, Meyers has been a massive part of the Patriots' offense the past three seasons and was producing when given a chance his rookie year. You could argue that he is the Patriots' No. 1 option or at least 1A, as they don't have a true No. 1 target, much like the Bears.
If you look at his numbers more closely and try to dissect what he has done, take this year as an example. He may have had 45 yards less than in 2021, but his touchdown total tripled, making it the best season of his career. Ironically, that kind of season came without an actual offensive coordinator, as Matt Patrica called the plays this season.
Had he been with Josh McDaniels or at least a more experienced offensive coordinator, Meyers may have had a shot at 1000 yards. That is the next hurdle to clear as he hopes to take those next steps as a player. Given Chicago's offensive struggles last season, any WR addition, including Meyers, would be huge for this team.
However, they still have Luke Getsy calling plays, so who knows what the offense will look like. Despite his struggles at times with the offense, Getsy at least has one year of play-calling under his belt compared to none by Patricia.
Getsy has learned from his mistakes, and you could argue that he hit rock bottom this season. He may even be in a position to make the necessary adjustments to make Fields a better passer and keep defenses off balance with a more complex offense.
Compared to the rest of the WR market, Meyers will come cheap and could be had for less than 10 million per season. That is a bargain deal when you think about it, and one the Bears could easily afford should they feel the same way.