The Bears have signed tight end Jesse James to a one-year deal, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday. According to Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus, it’s a one-year contract with a $2.15 million max value, with $1.65 million guaranteed, and three void years added on to keep this season’s cap hit lower.
James spent the last two seasons with the Lions, having been released two years into a four-year, $22 million deal signed in March of 2019. The 27-year-old caught 14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns in 2020, playing in all 16 games for Detroit.
Prior to signing with the Lions, James spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Steelers, where he caught 120 passes for 1,189 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was best known, however, as a in-line tight end whose 6-foot-7, 255-pound frame was put to good use as a run blocker.
James provides an experienced face to the Bears’ tight end room that, outside of Jimmy Graham, doesn’t have any proven veterans. He will likely serve as a backup ‘Y’ tight end behind Cole Kmet, battling with the likes of Jake Butt, J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted for a roster spot.