The play of Roy Williams has done nothing to allay concerns and needs for top-tier help at wide receiver for the Bears. But with the injury to Johnny Knox and Devin Hesters development arrow no longer pointing up as a wide receiver, Williams is an enigmatic possibility for 2012.
Williams has said for some weeks that he would like to be re-signed with the Bears and said it again Wednesday.
But he will not command anything close to the 2.4 million (with incentives) he could have received with the one-year Bears contract. A veteran-minimum offer in the 810,000 range is likely the maximum the Bears will offer a now-journeyman wideout who has just 33 catches for 447 yards through 15 largely disappointing games.
I feel like I made plays when the opportunity came, said Williams, who has had a pattern of minimizing mistakes and has been less than half the 70-80-catch receiver coordinator Mike Martz predicted in training camp.
Of course everybody's going to bring up the negatives, which is fine. But for the most part I made enough plays, and I'll be happy to sign, but if not, I'll continue on elsewhere. I love playing this game. I love the game, I love the game on Sundays. I don't like waking up on Mondays feeling like I'm 65, but the work week and the game day, you can't beat it. It's a great feeling.
This is a good football team. I'm looking for a team to go to the playoffs and go to the Super Bowl, and I don't think there's another team than the Chicago Bears, in my honest opinion.
After expressing optimism earlier Wednesday that he wouldn't have a player begin training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, general manager Ryan Pace's first major free agent signing will be held out when practices begin Thursday morning.
For the second straight camp, linebacker Pernell McPhee will be sidelined by a knee problem that's plagued him his first two seasons with the Bears. He'll still be able to attend meetings and receive treatment in Bourbonnais and can be activated at any time.
A year ago, McPhee was coming off knee surgery and was on injured reserve the first six weeks of the season. He'd spent this off-season getting his weight down to decrease stress on the knee, but when physicals and conditioning tests were held Wednesday, the team determined to hold him out. McPhee was actually recovering from offseason labrum surgery, but their announcement only specifically mentioned the knee.
With several other players coming off injuries and being limited during OTAs and minicamp, it's not certain Wednesday night's announcement means McPhee will be the only player starting camp on PUP. Among others, Kyle Long, Zach Miller, Eddie Jackson, and Jeremy Langford were easing their way back from surgeries. Josh Sitton was another, and John Fox revealed Wednesday Sitton won't join the team until Saturday after his wife gave birth.
With McPhee sidelined, two other outside linebackers coming off surgery, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston would be set for more practice time at the position, along with Leonard Floyd, Dan Skuta and Sam Acho.
Thursday's opening practice is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at Olivet Nazarene and will not include pads.
The CSN Fantasy crew is taking its talents on the road.
CSNChicago fantasy analysts Slavko Bekovic and Scott Krinch will join a Chicago Tribune panel of fantasy football experts for a Draft Party at Soldier Field on Thursday, Aug. 24.
It's the ultimate event to kick off the 2017 fantasy football season.
Sponsored by Jewel-Osco, fans will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host their fantasy drafts at Soldier Field, complete with insight and analysis from a panel of experts that includes Bekovic, Krinch, Rich Campbell and Phil Thompson from the Chicago Tribune, Bears broadcaster Jeff Joniak and The Score's Hub Arkush. Derek VanRiper and Kevin O'Brien from RotoWire will also be on hand to provide analysis.
The general admission tickets for fans include access to the Soldier Field press box. VIP tickets will give fans access to the private suites around Soldier Field for their drafts. All fans will receive complimentary food and beverages plus photo opportunities on the field and giveaways.
Head to ChicagoTribune.com/draftparty and follow @ChicagoSports and @CSNFantasy for more information.
The CSN Fantasy crew provides analysis all season long, from weekly podcasts and video segments to written articles that include a focus on the waiver wire as well as start/sit for each week.