By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — The Bears have found help at receiver, trading a conditional seventh-round pick to the Chargers in exchange for Dontrelle Inman.
Bears coach John Fox couldn’t announce the deal on Wednesday afternoon during his media availability scheduled shortly after the trade. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn announced the move during his media session in Los Angeles. Inman is en route to Chicago and expected to take his physical Wednesday night or Thursday morning, making the trade official.
Inman, 28, hauled in 58 catches for 810 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. He has two receptions for nine yards this season after the Chargers turned to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams at receiver. The Bears have done film work on Inman, which included offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
“I just saw a smart, savvy player that should provide some leadership in our room,” Loggains said.
The Bears have been seeking help at receiver ever since placing Cam Meredith and Kevin White on injured reserve. Veteran Markus Wheaton remains sidelined with a groin injury suffered two weeks ago in practice. Chicago’s leading receiver through seven games is running back Tarik Cohen, who has 27 receptions.
Inman, 28, is a 6-foot-3 target who has spent the last four years with the Chargers. He’s playing the final year of his rookie contract. Back in May, Inman underwent core muscle surgery and missed six weeks of time.
Loggains couldn’t say how long it would take to get Inman up to speed, nor was he sure how the Bears’ playbook compares to that of the Chargers.
“It’s very difficult to bring a guy in,” Loggains said. “It’s obviously advantageous to go through training camp and go through OTAs, build chemistry and timing, running the playbook and really honing the playbook and understand it. We’re dealing with some of those pains right now at that position. We’ll get him in here, we’ll assess where he’s at, figure out what he can and can’t do. I think it’s too early, right now without talking or meeting with him, to figure out what that role will be with this team.”
Since the arrival of Ryan Pace as general manager in early 2015, the Bears have seen major turnover at receiver. They traded Brandon Marshall to the Jets, signed and eventually released Eddie Royal and allowed Alshon Jeffery to leave through free agency. The team signed Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle during the offseason, with only Wheaton and Wright still active on the roster.
With rookie Mitchell Trubisky starting at quarterback, the Bears have been seeking answers at receiver. In a 17-3 win over the Panthers on Sunday, Trubisky finished 4-of-7 for 107 yards.
It will be the task of Trubisky to get the newcomer Inman up to speed once he arrives at Halas Hall, likely on Thursday.
“I’m not really sure how this whole process works with guys coming in the middle of the season,” Trubisky said. “But I’m looking forward to it. Hear he’s a good player. I’ll just help him any way I can. He’s part of this team and family now. We’re invested in all our guys. We’re going to get him as ready as we can, as well as the other guys. ”