Despite the Bears' dearth of talent at receiver last season, Wheaton couldn't carve out much of a role in the passing game while also battling health issues. Wheaton finished his lone campaign in Chicago with just three receptions for 51 yards in 11 games before receiving his walking papers in March. It's no surprise that Wheaton was forced to settle for a one-year, prove-it deal in free agency, and there's no guarantee he'll earn a roster spot with the Super Bowl champions given his issues with staying on the field and his underwhelming production in 2017. Even if Wheaton is able to clinch a roster berth, he'll likely only serve as a depth wideout for the team and wouldn't be in line for consistent targets.
Wheaton is visiting the Seahawks on Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
The only 100-yard game of Wheaton's career was an outlier 201-yard performance during a game in Seattle back in Week 12 of 2015. He finished out that season with a handful of solid outings but has subsequently caught only seven passes on 26 targets in 14 games for Pittsburgh and Chicago the past two seasons. Seeking a speedy replacement for free-agent departee Paul Richardson, the Seahawks surely remember that game from 2015 and may be optimistic that Wheaton can recapture his best form if he stays healthy. Regardless of where he lands, the 27-year-old will need to reprove himself, likely while working on a contract that doesn't include much guaranteed money.
Wheaton was a complete bust in the first season of a two-year, $11 million contract, catching three of 17 targets for 51 yards in 11 games. The Bears have reached agreements with Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel, while Wheaton will look for a new home to compete for a roster spot. The 2013 third-round pick has seven receptions since 2015, with injuries playing a major role in his struggles. He's only 27 and does still own a career mark of 14.2 yards per catch.
Signed to a two-year, $11 million contract last offseason, Wheaton caught three passes for 51 yards in 11 games with the Bears. His only chance of staying in Chicago would be accepting a major pay cut to compete for a spot at the bottom of the roster. With Kendall Wright, Dontrelle Inman and Cameron Meredith (knee) all set to become unrestricted free agents, the Bears figure to aggressively address their wideout group in free agency and/or the draft. Kevin White (shoulder) figures to get another shot with the team in the final year of his rookie contract, but the Bears don't want to be in the position of depending on a player who has made only five appearances in three professional seasons. Wheaton has dealt with injury issues of his own, missing five games last season and 13 in 2016 with the Steelers. He does at least seem to be healthy at the moment.
Wheaton's entering the last year of his contract, but unless he gives the new coaching staff reason for optimism that he'll improve, he easily could find himself in an uphill battle to make the team. He certainly had opportunity to carve out a role in an offense that was pretty much devoid of playmakers at wide receiver, but he was targeted just 17 times over 11 games. Although he had a pair of reasonably productive seasons in 2014 and 2015, he's posted just 102 yards in 14 games since that time, and he'll need to have an impressive training camp to merit a spot on most fantasy teams in 2018.