Torry Holt to visit Jaguars

Former Rams’ wideout Torry Holt is done vacationing and is now ready to visit NFL teams, with his first stop coming Thursday in Jacksonville.

To wit, league sources told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday evening that Holt will be paying a free-agent visit to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. Jacksonville is in dire need of receiving help.

The team cut Jerry Porter and had no plans to re-sign free agent Reggie Williams. On March 16, the Jaguars released wide receiver Matt Jones following his arrest earlier this month on a probation violation stemming from drug charges last summer. Jones led Jacksonville with 65 catches for 761 yards last season.

Holt has no reason to go to a team that can’t guarantee him a starting job because there are plenty of them out there. The Jags’ current starters are Mike Walker and Dennis Northcutt, so even though Holt has shown signs of slowing down, he would still be an immediate upgrade to that unit. Another team that should pick up the phone and dial Holt’s agent is the Chicago Bears, who currently have Devin Hester and Earl Bennett tabbed as their starting wideouts.

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Bears need dramatic upgrade at wide receiver

Earl BennettAccording to the Chicago Sun Times, the Bears are giving former third round pick Earl Bennett every opportunity to start at wide receiver opposite Devin Hester this season. Bennett, mind you, is the same dropped-prone receiver who didn’t catch one pass last year because he was inactive for seven of the 16 games and couldn’t beat out stalwarts Marty Booker, Rashied Davis and Brandon Lloyd on the depth chart.

The Bears need to do something about their receiving corps and soon. Torry Holt has lost a step, but he would be an instant upgrade at the position and could serve as a tutor for guys like Hester and Bennett. Holt is apparently out of the country right now on vacation and won’t be visiting teams for the next couple days, but the Bears would be wise to get the 32-year old’s agent on the phone, like, now.

The draft is also littered with receivers and while I certainly don’t advocate the Bears taking one in the first round (everything GM Jerry Angelo touches in the first round turns to rabbit turd anyway), prospects like Hakeem Nicks (North Carolina) and Brian Robiskie (Ohio State) should be there in the second.

I had a chance to watch the scouting combine on the NFL Network in February and Robiskie was impressive. Out of all the receivers who worked out, Robiskie seemed to run the smoothest routes and was very fluid in his motions. He’s not the fastest prospsect (his 40 is a good but not great 4.51), but Robiskie is the son of an NFL assistant (Falcons’ wide receiver coach Terry Robiskie), so you know he’s received a fair amount of coaching throughout his playing career. The Ohio State product looks like one of the more polished receiver prospects in the draft.

Whatever route the Bears want to take in acquiring a receiver doesn’t matter. But they dramatically need to upgrade the position this offseason because I highly doubt Hester and Bennett give quarterback Kyle Orton the best chance of succeeding.

Rams bar Torry Holt and Orlando Pace from offseason programs

The Rams apparently told wide receiver Torry Holt and Orlando Pace not to show up to any offseason programs this spring.

The Sports Xchange’s Howard Balzer reports that the Rams have uninvited Torry Holt and Orlando Pace from their offseason program.

The Rams are trying to move on from the pricey duo, but this hurts their leverage in trade talks. Clearly, St. Louis isn’t open to bringing back either in 2009. Holt reportedly hasn’t heard from anyone in the organization since Steve Spagnuolo was hired as coach. It looks like Holt and Pace might both end up being released. Neither has been linked anywhere in a trade.

It would be highly unwise for a team to trade a draft pick for Holt and Pace after this news. Both of these players are sure to be released soon and it’ll be interesting to see where they wind up. I’d be shocked if the Bears don’t try to make a play for Holt, who would be a quality addition to a receiving corps in desperate need of a boost.

Bears interested in Torry Holt?

Torry HoltSeveral sources including the NFL Network and Chicago Sun Times are reporting that the Bears could be interested in wide receiver Torry Holt, who the Rams have been shopping over the past couple weeks.

First things first, The Bears would be wise to wait for the Rams to release him. He’s due a $1.25 million roster bonus on March 17 and while St. Louis would love to trade him before then, no team in their right mind will want to give up compensation knowing full well that the Rams will want to part ways before he’s due the bonus.

Secondly – why not? There’s no doubt Holt has lost a step and at 33 years old, he’s certainly not the long-term answer. But the Bears have been trying to get by with Devin Hester, Marty Booker and Brandon Llyod and it just hasn’t worked. Some fans might scoff at the idea of adding another band-aid fix to the position, but Holt would prove to be a solid mentor for guys like Hester over the next one or two seasons and the Bears could still target a receiver in the second or third round of the draft in April.

If Chicago is committed to quarterback Kyle Orton, then they need to give him more weapons outside of running back Matt Forte. Plus, Holt still runs some of the best routes in the league and if there has been one thing Hester has dramatically struggled with in his transition to receiver, it’s been his route running

Considering what’s left on the market in terms of wideouts (D.J. Hackett, Bobby Engram, Amani Toomer), Holt is the best of the bunch. T.O. and Marvin Harrison are available as well, but unless the Bears want to deal with a potential headache or overpay for a 36-year old with declining skills, Holt seems like the best fit at this point.

Torry Holt asks Rams to release him

League sources (whatever that means these days – could be a well respected NFL front office figure or could be Roger Goodell’s janitor) have told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that wide receiver Torry Holt has asked the Rams to release him.

The Rams have been trying to trade Holt for the past couple weeks but so far they haven’t found any takers. As the Post-Dispatch notes, Holt is due a $1.25 million roster bonus on March 17 and therefore it’s unlikely that he’ll be a Ram past that point.

If he remains patient for the next week and a half, Holt is likely to get his wish. But I don’t blame him for wanting to end the charade and have the team just release now so both parties can move on. It’s clear that Rams are moving in another direction at receiver and I think the team owes Holt a debt of gratitude for all he’s done over the years. If they’re going to wind up releasing him anyway (and they will – no team is going to trade for him knowing that he’ll be cut if they wait long enough), they should do him a favor and cut him now.

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