The Chicago Bears played in 12 personnel (1 RB/2TE), the tenth most frequently (24%) in the NFL during the 2022 season, and they went with 13 personnel, the sixth most (6%). On the season, the Bears used more than one tight end on the field for 330 offensive snaps, but all of their reserve tight ends only accounted for six receptions and 52 yards.
They are clearly happy with their TE1, but if they are going to continue to use more than one tight end on the field as much as they did a season ago, then finding a player or two that would be an actual threat in the offense makes sense.
In this 12-part series, I list the contract status of all the current Chicago players on a position-by-position basis while speculating on some offseason moves that could happen.
Cole Kmet - Signed through 2023 - Kmet had a fantastic training camp but then suffered a slow start to the 2022 season; however, he came on strong and finished with 50 receptions, 544 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He also improved as a blocker in the run game, and while he still has room to grow, he’s also not turning 24 until this spring. The best is yet to come for Kmet, and he’s a candidate for a contract extension this offseason.
Ryan Griffen - Free agent - The 33-year-old Griffen was fine as a reserve, but the Bears may want a younger option to back up Kmet or play with him in two tight end sets.
Trevon Wesco - Free agent - Like Griffen, I think Wesco may have played his last down in Chicago. He was brought in to work mainly as an in-line blocker/h-back, so adding another player in that role is likely.
Jake Tonges - Signed through 2023 - The Bears brought Tonges back on a reserve/futures contract, and he’ll have a chance to stick around in a TE/FB role if he can improve as a blocker.
Chase Allen - Signed through 2023 - Allen was also brought back on a reserve/futures deal, and he’ll compete for a spot this offseason.
2023 OUTLOOK - The Bears need to do some work at the position, as Kmet is the only reliable option on the roster. If they go the free agent route, it’ll probably be another Griffen/Wesco type of player. Still, considering the money that the Bears have to spend in free agency, they may decide an established receiving threat is needed. Even Engram, Dalton Schultz, Mike Gesicki, and Robert Tonyan Jr. are some higher-priced options if Chicago decides to make a splash at the position.
This is an excellent tight end class, so don’t rule out the Bears drafting a guy at some point. Luke Getsy coached Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave in the Senior Bowl, and while his blocking has a ways to go, he’d provide some movement skills to the offense.
Purdue’s Payne Durham is another Senior Bowl prospect, and our guy Robert Schmitz interviewed him while he was down in Mobile.
Got the chance to catch up with Purdue TE Payne Durham after #SeniorBowl practice — loved chatting with him about how he formed his game, his love for Mike Alstott, and his journey through football.— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) February 1, 2023
If you haven’t watched him play, you need to — one of my favorites so far. pic.twitter.com/KDDTaVKL0s
What do you think the Bears’ plan is at tight end this offseason?