The Chicago Bears have begun working on rebuilding their receiver core, and while Allen Robinson is the biggest name they intend to add, the addition of Taylor Gabriel cannot be overlooked.
It was reported yesterday that the former Falcon and Brown will be committing to the Bears on a four-year deal. Gabriel (27) is a speedy slot receiver that has four years of NFL service under his belt. He has played in a total of 58 games between Cleveland and Atlanta and has 1,819 career receiving yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016, he had a career-high six touchdown with 579 yards in 13 games. Last year he appeared in all 16 games and has been durable in his role.
Is Gabriel a number one? No. However, he will be a very valuable weapon for Trubisky and a good fit in Nagy’s system. Gabriel’s best asset is his speed, he has the ability to gain extra yardage on a catch with his mobility. He is a guy that will not be as much to target deep downfield but on short plays including screens.
It is also worth noting it helps his versatility on the field as he had a career-high eight rushing attempts with 49 yards last year. Not saying he will be splitting time doing both like Tarik Cohen, but the speed makes him a dangerous presence on the field for opposing defenses. Expect Nagy to use him in a bit more of a versatile role than just slot receiver.
Bringing in guys like Robinson and Gabriel makes this offense much more balanced. Last year, the Bears had nobody for Mitchell Trubisky to throw to, or even rely on to make plays. Having both reliable targets downfield and speedsters that can turn short passes into big gains not only makes the team better but helps Trubisky develop as a quarterback. It also helps that they don’t have to rely on Jordan Howard having to take the ball on the ground 25+ times a game.
Right now, the top three guys on the receiver core are Allen Robinson, Cam Meredith, and Taylor Gabriel. Already a major upgrade from last year.
Matt Nagy can now spread things out so much nicer with these additions, and hopefully more will come.
(Photo Credit: USA Today)