Top offseason needs: NFC North
The most pressing holes to fill for Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings
Welcome to the 2013 version of Insider's offseason staple series: Plugging the Holes. This marks the sixth of an eight-part examination in which Football Outsiders identifies the biggest needs for every NFL team, division by division, going into the 2013 offseason.
The series continues Tuesday with Outsiders' look at the NFC North.
Chicago Bears: Wide receiver and tight end
Remember when the Bears traded for Brandon Marshall? That was a fairly adept move by new Bears GM Phil Emery because if Marshall hadn't been around last season, Jay Cutler might not have completed a pass. Marshall absorbed 192 targets, third most in the league behind Calvin Johnson and Reggie Wayne, and he had to do this because the Bears had no other receivers who could beat man coverage. Although part of that falls on the diminishing returns of the fifth year of the Devin Hester experiment at WR, as well as the general lack of receiving depth Chicago had while waiting for Alshon Jeffery to develop, another big factor was the trade of Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers by Emery's predecessor Jerry Angelo back in 2011. Without a reliable tight end to serve as an underneath threat, Cutler was forced to spend a lot more of last season scrambling while waiting for his targets to get open.
To read the rest of Football Outsiders' analysis of the biggest offseason needs for NFC North teams, you must be an ESPN Insider.