Chicago Bears claim Chris Pantale, add another tight end to the roster



Martellus Bennett

wanting a new contract and not showing up to voluntary workouts, the Chicago Bears may be looking to trade him. In the meantime, they keep adding tight ends as possible replacements. On Tuesday, they claimed

Chris Pantale

, making it eight tight ends on the current roster.

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears claimed former New York Jets tight end Chris Pantale. With the Martellus Bennett situation (he is holding out of voluntary workouts because he wants a new contract), the Bears are looking at other options.

There are reports that the Bears are looking to move Bennett. In the meantime, they are collecting tight ends. Adding Pantale, they now have eight tight ends on the roster.

Bennett has certainly outplayed his contract, but there are two seasons left on his contract. The Bears don’t appear to cave in to Bennett with all that time left on the contract.

I’m not one of those who advocates that players honor the contracts they sign because the owners sign those same contracts and don’t need to honor them when they want to cut them, but in this case, there are some other key players that the Bears need to prioritize over Bennett.

One of the top running backs in the NFL, Matt Forte, is in the last year of his contract, and the Bears need to make a big decision on whether or not to bring him back. Also in the final year of his contract is Alshon Jeffery, and I think he is the one the Bears absolutely need to re-sign. After losing Brandon Marshall (or giving him away) this offseason, I don’t think the Bears want to lose two top-tier wide receivers in consecutive seasons.

When asked about Bennett’s holdout, coach John Fox did not say much. “As I mentioned before, the answer is not going to change much — it is voluntary,” Fox said. “I prefer guys be here, but if they’re not, they’re not.”

Fox can say it is voluntary, but the truth of the matter is that if you skip whatever workouts there are, you are not endearing yourself to the new coaching staff, and you may see you way out of the door soon (unless you are among the best like Forte).

Pantale spent most of the last two seasons on the Jets’ practice squad after signing as an undrafted rookie. He did appear in the Jets’ last five games last season, but contributed mostly on special teams.

There are other options, like free agency. Jermaine Gresham had offseason back surgery, but once he is cleared to play he may be an option. There is also former Oakland Raider Nick Kasa.

At this point, the Bears still have the leverage, so they may just go with Bennett for this season and look to move him after the season. They can then look at the draft for a replacement.

If Bennett skips minicamp, he can be fined $70,000. If he decides to skip training camp, he could be fined up to $30,000 per day. If Bennett doesn’t like what he’s making now, I don’t think he’s going to like his checks after the fines.

Whether he likes it or not, Martellus Bennett will probably be a Bear. I don’t think Blake Annen, Jacob Maxwell, Zach Miller, Bear Pascoe, Dante Rosario, Brian Vogler or Pantale can be capable replacements the Pro Bowler. Bennett should just calm down, play his game, and then next offseason he can see his way out the door.

Next: Matt Forte to see reduced workload in 2015?

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