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Bears

Arkush: Bears' offense gets better, faster in a hurry

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson (15) runs after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. The Jaguars are not expected to use the franchise tag on free-agent receiver Allen Robinson, raising questions about the team's plan to revamp an offense that lacked play-makers in 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson (15) runs after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. The Jaguars are not expected to use the franchise tag on free-agent receiver Allen Robinson, raising questions about the team's plan to revamp an offense that lacked play-makers in 2017. (AP Photo/AJ Mast, File)

Well, I guess we can cross receiver off the Bears’ shopping list.

In one frenetic day at the NFL’s free agent bazaar, the Bears came away with the top No. 1 receiver available in Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, arguably the top-rated No. 3 receiver in free agency in Taylor Gabriel and the best “move” tight end on the market in Philadelphia’s Trey Burton.

Toss Dolphins placekicker Cody Parkey into the shopping cart and the Bears had a pretty good day ... on offense.

Unfortunately, just about the time we were all pinching ourselves and asking if this was all too good to be true, linebacker Christian Jones got away in a move that has the potential to hurt more than most realize, and for an extra poke in the eye, he’s staying in the NFC North with the Lions.

Let’s bask in the good news first.

Yes, Robinson is coming off a season lost to an ACL tear, once the kiss of death for many NFL skill-position players.

But by the time training camp begins, Robinson will be almost a full year removed from surgery. Most players are able to make full recoveries from ACL tears these days, and with a 1,400-yard, 14-TD season on his résumé, Robinson is a true No. 1, joining Brandon Marshall as the only two the Bears have had this century.

And Robinson comes without any of the baggage that Marshall parked in the Bears’ locker room, and he doesn’t turn 25 until the end of August.

Gabriel is a 5-foot-8, 165-pound smurf who has run a 4.27 40-yard dash. In Atlanta’s 2016 Super Bowl season, he averaged 16.5 yards a catch and had six touchdowns, and he is ideally suited to line up in the slot between Robinson and Cam Meredith or Kevin White, or he can line up outside and take the top off a defense any time you like.

As of the moment, Markus Wheaton is still a Bear. Tarik Cohen also can line up at receiver. And like Robinson, Meredith has had a full year to mend his ACL, and Mitch Trubisky has targets galore.

If White stays on the field and proves worthy of the seventh overall pick in the draft, whoa. But now, even if he doesn’t, receiver is no longer a need for the Bears.

Burton is more a chess piece than tight end, but he’s an excellent athlete and receiver who will allow coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to create matchup nightmares when they put him, Adam Shaheen, Robinson and any two of Jordan Howard, Cohen, Gabriel, Meredith or White on the field together.

Parkey doesn’t have a huge leg, with only seven attempts beyond the 50-yard line and a long of 54 in his first four seasons in the league, but he is among the NFL’s most accurate kickers, having hit six of those seven from 50-plus yards and 86.4 percent of his 88 attempts overall.

It is highly unlikely the Bears will be 29th in the NFL in points scored again this season, but how many points will they allow?

In case you hadn’t noticed – and, to be honest, I hadn’t – Jones was the Bears’ leading tackler last season while playing inside and outside linebacker.

I certainly noticed what a fine player he’d become and is likely to now be for the Lions.

Danny Trevathan has played only nine and 12 games, respectively, in two years as a Bear; Leonard Floyd has played 12 and 10 games in his two seasons; Sam Acho and Lamarr Houston are free agents; and Jerrell Freeman, Pernell McPhee and Willie Young are gone.

Although the Bears no longer have a gaping hole at receiver, they now have a new one at linebacker, as well as real needs on the offensive line and at cornerback and safety.

But, hey, free agency doesn’t even really start until Wednesday, and that’s what the draft is for, isn’t it?

Now we have a much better idea of what the Bears’ draft board will look like.

• Hub Arkush is executive editor of Pro Football Weekly. Write to him at harkush@profootballweekly.com, and follow him on Twitter @Hub_Arkush.

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