Harris, who turns 29 in July, was released by the Browns on Monday one year into a two-year, $6 million deal signed last March. He started in 6 games and played in 15 in 2019, catching 15 passes for 149 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Prior to signing with Cleveland, Harris spent 2013 through 2018 with the Chiefs, where Bears head coach Matt Nagy served as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2017. In his 5 years with the team, Harris started in 33 games and caught 57 passes for 605 yards and 6 touchdowns, serving as a complementary piece to Travis Kelce in Kansas City’s offense.
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Harris has impressive length for the tight end position, and his starting experience gives the Bears some much-needed experience to their current group of players. Touted for being a talented blocking tight end during his time with the Chiefs, he fits the in-line ‘Y’ tight end role that players like Adam Shaheen and J.P. Holtz filled for Chicago this past season.
Harris is also a good athlete, and part of that can be attributed to his experience in college basketball. He was a starting power forward his senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, leading the team in rebounds. Though his Pro Day occurred nearly 7 years ago, the 4.57 40-yard dash he ran is certainly impressive.
Though he won’t be an instant fix at the tight end position, he does provide an upgrade at the ‘Y’ spot for the Bears. The signing won’t go against the team’s compensatory pick formula, either, as players who are released by their teams can be signed by other teams without said team’s compensatory pick status being affected.
Harris provides an upgrade at one tight end spot, but it’s hard to imagine Chicago is done there. Look for them to address the ‘U’ position through free agency or the draft to try and push Trey Burton for snaps.