The Chicago Bears inked a new tight end and an old friend of Matt Nagy. What does this signing mean for the tight ends going forward?
On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Bears made a free agency move before the period officially begins on March 18. After the Cleveland Browns cut ties with tight end Demetrius Harris, Chicago scooped him up on a 1-year deal.
The 28-year-old Harris is entering his seventh season in the NFL and only played one of those with the Browns. His career began back in 2014 with the Kansas City Chiefs, which is of course where he played under current Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
Harris joins a group of tight ends which was arguably the worst in the NFL last year.
The Bears will likely keep Trey Burton around, because cutting him and absorbing the dead cap makes zero sense. Seeing if Burton can regain himself both physically and mentally is their only choice with their starting tight end at this point.
Aside from Burton, the Bears still have Adam Shaheen and could bring back J.P. Holtz. Out of those two, Holtz is much more valuable at this stage. It’s sad to say, but the Shaheen pick was a swing and miss by Ryan Pace.
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Going forward, Harris will likely function as mostly a blocking tight end. Although he is fairly athletic, Harris is a much better blocker than he is a receiver. In six NFL seasons, Harris has only caught 72 passes for 754 yards and nine touchdowns.
It’s not that he isn’t capable of catching the football, but his skillset is better used in blocking. In football terms, he’ll be used at the ‘Y’ tight end.
The Bears have to go out and sign or draft at least one more at the position, because Burton is the only true receiving threat at the moment. If they wanted to grab one via free agency, the big names available are going to be Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron and Hunter Henry.
The draft has quite a few notable names which could fit what the Bears do, but the limited capital makes it difficult to spend an early pick unless the value is too good in the second round.
Harris is a decent start to bolstering the tight end group, but the Bears are no where near done. I could even see Pace bringing in two more which would have a shot to make the final roster while keeping Holtz and maybe even Jesper Horsted for training camp, at minimum.
Whether they add more via free agency or the rookie class remains to be seen. What we do know, though, is that there will be more additions to this group. You can count on it.