In 2017, the Bears had what most would consider one of the worst wide receiver groups in the NFL. Some would blame that on injuries to Kevin White and Cameron Meredith but the reality is that Ryan Pace let Alshon Jeffery walk and never really attacked the position at the start of free agency. Pace has a track record of giving guys “prove it” contracts and not moving from his very stiff pocket. Problem is, guys don’t want “prove it” contracts when they can get what they want anywhere else. Hopefully, Pace has learned from his mistakes and attacks the wide receiver position head on, and one name I continue to be interested in is Jarvis Landry, Let’s break it down.
Jarvis Landry Stats breakdown
Landry ended the year with 112 receptions, 987 yards, and nine touchdowns. To put it in perspective, the Bears had a total of 13 receiving touchdowns. To make it even worse, only four of those came from actual wide receivers. Landry’s yards weren’t exactly giant but his receptions led the NFL and his TDs were tied for fourth. Landry would be a great addition if Bears can find a speedster to compliment him.
Jarvis Landry by Career comparison
Some would say Landry doesn’t have the capability to be elite, but if you calculate his stats amongst some of the better receivers in their prime, Landry is close in quite a few statistical categories.
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Although his yards per catch seems pretty low, he makes up for it in having the 2nd highest yards after the catch by a receiver with 511. Landry isn’t gonna get you those big 50+ yarders, but he will get you first downs. Some blame for Landry’s lack of yardage could also go to Jay Cutler and Adam Gase as well. Landry had 12.1 yards per reception in 2016, only to see it go back down in 2017. Gase knew the kind of player Cutler was and tried to limit the mistakes.
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This stat shows Yards per Attempt, Adjusted Yards per Attempt and Yards gained per Completion. Cutler was ranked 28th in Y/A, 29th in AY/A and 27th in Y/C. Mitchell Trubisky was ranked 25th in both Y/A and AY/A and tied 18th with Y/C. While Trubisky’s ranks aren’t great, he was also a rookie in an offense not built to throw, and even still had better numbers than Cutler.
To get why Landry’s numbers went down in 2017, you have to look at Ryan Tannehill’s stats in 2016. Tannehill was ranked 8th in Y/A, 13th in AY/A, and 16th in Y/C in 2016. In essence, Cutler cut almost a yard and a half per throw, which created a lower average for both Landry and teammate Devante Parker.
The Nagy Affect
I also wanted to make a point with Alex Smith. Smith was ranked 2nd in Y/A and 1st in AY/A while tying for 8th in Y/C. Smith’s numbers went up year by year with Matt Nagy as either Quarterbacks Coach or Offensive Coordinator.
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To go even more in depth, the first 5 seasons Smith was in the NFL, his Y/A average was 5.76. Although some would say Smith’s numbers were on the rise in San Francisco, you have to understand the stats behind that as well. Smith did have a 70.2% completion percentage in 2012 as well as an 8.0 Y/A, but he only threw 218 passes. Even though Smith’s numbers weren’t bad in 2011, he only completed 61.3 of his 445 passes. Smith hasn’t had less than 300 completions in the last five seasons. Though it’s true Smith’s numbers dropped in 2013, it’s understandable seeing as he had to learn a new offense.
Back to Landry
The point is, Nagy has made Smith a very good quarterback in the last 5 years. I believe Nagy can do the same thing with Trubisky, and if he does, his Y/A will go up, which means Landry’s average will go up as well. During the time Nagy took over as the Offensive Coordinator in Kansas City, Tyreek Hill and Albert Wilson’s averages were 22.4 and 13.02, respectively, either of those would be career highs for Landry.
This could be the thing that stops Pace from grabbing Landry, He’s already said he wants his money and won’t take a hometown discount. I’d expect Landry to get anywhere around $13 to 15 million per year. I would assume those numbers would scare Pace, but if not, I believe the Bears would get a real weapon.
Nagy showed how to use his personnel in ways that complement them the best, and it showed during those 5 games he called plays. Although some believe Landry wouldn’t fit in this offense, I believe Nagy would get the most out of him and anyone else they decide to bring in. Let’s just hope Pace can find the weapons during free agency.