Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A TE idea for Chicago
By Tim Kavanagh
This has been an offseason of change already for the Chicago Bears, as HC Lovie Smith is out (along with much of his staff), and Marc Trestman has taken over with a new group of henchmen on his coaching staff. We haven't yet gotten to player personnel moves, where there are certainly going to be some moves made. Though the offensive line and LB corps have been getting much of the attention, we may be seeing a dynamic acquisition at the TE position as well.
"There is no need to kick a guy when he's down. If you watched the Bears in 2012, then you know without a shadow of a doubt the offense needs to find a legitimate No. 1 tight end," ESPNChicago.com scribe Jeff Dickerson writes this week. "Kellen Davis is a decent blocker, but he doesn't catch the ball well enough to command the $2.4 million base salary he's due in 2013. His on-field chemistry with Cutler is non-existent, probably because of all the drops Davis had last year in limited targets. It's probably time for both parties to move on."
So who's available? Tony Gonzalez is technically an impending free agent, though if he doesn't retire, one imagines that Gonzalez would return to Atlanta. Jared Cook appears headed for a franchise tag from the Titans. Two players who have been productive in the past -- but have health questions looking ahead -- are Fred Davis and Dustin Keller. Martellus Bennett and Brandon Myers both had breakout performances in 2012, but appear interested in re-signing with their incumbent teams.
So that would appear to leave the draft as the other option. ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. believes there may be a strong option for Chicago at pick No. 20 overall:
Mel Kiper Jr.Mock Draft 1.0
"When the Bears traded Greg Olsen to the Panthers, they dealt away one of Jay Cutler's favorite targets. Brandon Marshall made a huge impact in 2012, but the Bears lack that second option Cutler can really depend on, particularly at tight end. Tyler Eifert is a new-breed tight end, a guy you can split out as an impossible physical matchup for most corners, and is a hands-catcher who doesn't have to create much separation to be open because he can win physical battles and use his strong hands to take the ball out of the air with players hanging on him. He's an ideal target for Cutler."