Bears: Assessing needs to address in 2020 offseason

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Trey Burton
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

5. Tight End

On the Bears offense, besides just quarterback, tight end is the second position that is due for a major overhaul in 2020. Currently, the Bears have four tight ends on the roster: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, J.P. Holtz, and Ben Braunecker. Of the four, only Shaheen, Holtz, and Burton have seen consistent playing time in 2019. Braunecker is the kind of guy who’s more suited to be a special teams contributor.

As of right now, it’s clear that Trey Burton hasn’t lived up to the massive contract he signed during free agency in 2018 while Shaheen has underperformed since entering the NFL. Holtz has shown the ability to be a solid blocker who can take on the role of the fullback and get involved in the running game.

A blueprint for the Bears to reshape the tight end room in 2020 would likely look like this: Cut Shaheen, sign a guy in free agency, and then draft a player. This also means the Bears could end up cutting Braunecker but keeping Holtz around.

Draft targets to know early on are names like Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) and Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri). Between the two, Hopkins is clearly the better fit for the Bears offense considering he excels in three areas: route running, making plays in open space, and an excellent catch radius.  Okwuegbunam, on the other hand, is a physical freak of nature that can be a mismatch down the seam. Like Hopkins, Okwuegbunam too has a large catch radius but he also uses his strength to win 50-50 balls.

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Both Hopkins and Okwuegbunam should be available when the Bears are on the board in the second-round. While both have what it takes to be the Bears tight end of the future, the Bears should still look to invest in guys like Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry, both of whom are projected to hit free agency.