Why a Bears trade for Tyler Lockett doesn't make much sense

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As the Seahawks have begun dismantling their team, first by trading away Russell Wilson, then cutting Bobby Wagner, fans across the league have asked themselves, “How can my team get in on the firesale going on in Seattle?” With the Bears in need of several wide receivers, fans on Twitter seem to have landed on Tyler Lockett as the guy Ryan Poles should pursue. But there’s one problem with that hypothetical trade: it doesn’t make much sense for the Bears.

On paper, it seems like bringing in Lockett would be a slam dunk for the Bears offense. Over the past four seasons he’s caught 312 balls for 4,251 yards and 36 touchdowns. He’s one of the best deep threats in the league, only turns 30 this September, and is under team control for the next four seasons. Of those four years, his base salary is a manageable $3 million in 2022, and $9.7 million in 2023, with $3.25 million in per game bonuses each year (meaning he earns ~$191 thousand for each game he’s active), according to Spotrac.

At 5’10”, 182 lbs he’s one of the smaller wide receivers in the NFL, but he uses his quickness to create separation from defenders. He plays all over the field, but often lines up in the slot, or as the Z receiver to give him even more opportunities to use his quickness to get open. That includes going in motion pre-snap, either as a way to generate momentum, as window dressing, or to take the handoff as a rusher. In short, he’s the Seahawks’ version of Darnell Mooney. There’s no question that adding Lockett would increase the talent pool in the Bears’ wide receiver room, but with such a similar skillset and makeup to Mooney, Lockett would feel a bit redundant in the offense.

If the Bears were to trade for a Seahawks wideout, D.K. Metcalf would probably be a better option. He’s 6’4”, 235 lbs and has the makeup of a more traditional X receiver to pair alongside Mooney. Metcalf is equally productive and younger than Lockett too. While Metcalf only has one year left of team control, he’s still playing on his rookie deal now.

But that begs the question, how would the Bears bring either of these players to Halas Hall? Poles doesn’t have much draft capital as things stand, and making a deal for either of these players may require several picks. The Bears have too many needs on their roster to be giving away even more draft selections. With over $23 million in cap space, the team is better equipped to add a top-shelf wide receiver in free agency than via trade, too. In the end, Poles may be best served addressing the wide receiver room with a mix of free agent signings and draft selections.

Lockett would certainly be an exciting player to pair with Justin Fields, and his deep play ability would complement Fields’ big arm nicely. It’s tempting to take advantage of the Seahawks’ rebuild, too. But realistically, the Bears aren’t in a position to trade picks for players, and Lockett might not be the best fit for a new addition to the team.

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