Chargers send WR Dontrelle Inman to Chicago Bears for pick
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers traded receiver Dontrelle Inman to the Chicago Bears for a seventh-round pick on Wednesday, clearing the logjam in their receiving corps.
Inman has spent four seasons with the Chargers, catching 107 passes for 1,463 yards and seven touchdowns. He played every game last season in San Diego, but was set back early this season by sports hernia surgery in May.
“He got hurt and (we) never really got a good chance to see him, and some other guys stepped ahead of him,” said Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ first-year head coach. “We just wanted to get him someplace where he can be happy and play football.”
While the Virginia product developed into a dependable NFL receiver, Inman has been inactive for the past two weeks after the Chargers activated first-round pick Mike Williams, who missed training camp and the first five games of the season with a back injury.
“Mike’s role will change,” Lynn said. “We’re going to put more on his plate. I’m going to feed him more than he can eat right now.”
Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and speedy Travis Benjamin also were ahead of Inman on the Chargers’ depth chart.
Inman is in a contract year, and Lynn said Inman deserved a chance to play extensively to maximize his value. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said the trade was less a reflection of the team’s depth at receiver than simply having Williams healthy.
“I don’t know if it’s a reflection of how deep it is, but a reflection of drafting a guy No. 7 and the potential that Mike has,” Rivers said. “You take a guy like Mike Williams and he’s healthy, you want to get him going because of his upside.”
The Bears were eager to add a veteran playmaker alongside rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in their passing game, which is the NFL’s second-worst with just 158.6 yards per game.
Chicago offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains only knows about Inman through film.
“I just saw a smart, savvy player that should be able to provide some leadership in our room, and we need that type of figure right now to help these guys out,” Loggains said. “I’m assuming this guy is a sharp guy, and I’m excited to get him in here.”
Inman should have ample opportunity in Chicago, if he can get up to speed in time. Just one of the Bears’ top five pass-catchers this season is an active receiver, and none of the Bears’ wide receivers has more than Kendall Wright’s 20 catches.
Still, Loggains acknowledged the challenges of changing teams at midseason for an offensive playmaker.
“It’s very difficult to bring a guy in,” Loggains said. “It’s obviously advantageous to go through training camp, to go through OTAs and build chemistry and timing and really own the playbook and understand it. We’re dealing with some of those pains now at that position.”