The tight end position seems about as clear cut as the quarterback spot for the Chicago Bears. The top three are no-brainers, but after that it all depends on how many they keep at the position. In looking back at what the Kansas City Chiefs did the last two seasons, they kept three last year, but four the year before. Chicago head coach Matt Nagy may decide between a fourth tight end or a fullback, in which case the position battle among a few players will be intriguing.
Trey Burton got the big money to be Matt Nagy’s U tight end, which is the same position that Travis Kelce played for him with the Chiefs when he was coordinating their offense. Kelce is one of the best at the position in the NFL, whereas Burton will be stepping into a full time role for the first time in his five year career. The Bears took a calculated risk in giving the 6’3”, 235 pound Burton $32 million over four years, but it was still a risk.
Last year’s big money free agent tight end, Dion Sims, survived an easy out in his contract to presumably have a role as the Y tight end. I was just as surprised as everyone else when the Bears didn’t cut him, but someone sees value in him sticking around, and that someone is probably Nagy.
Last year brought second round draft pick Adam Shaheen, and if he develops as the Bears hope, he could get reps at both the U and the Y. At the very least the 6’5”, 270 pounder will be a red zone threat for a competent play caller.
A good bet to make it
I think the other tight ends on the roster are all bubble guys.
On the bubble
Of the bottom of the depth chart tight ends, I think Daniel Brown has the best chance at breaking through. He led the position group in special teams snaps a year ago (180/42.8%), and his 13 receptions for 129 yards was more than Shaheen picked up last year. He’s not the best as an in-line blocker, so in this offense he’s primarily a U,
I’ve always liked the potential of Ben Braunecker, but through two years he’s yet to realize it. He played thirteen games as a rookie, but only eight last year.
Colin Thompson is a blocking tight end that ended the 2017 season on the Bears practice squad. He’s the longest of long shots to make the team because he’s the least accomplished as a receiver.
How many tight ends will the Bears open the season with?
This poll is closed