It’s early in the offseason, but it’s always good to keep an eye on how certain position groups start to take shape. For example, the Bears’ tight ends.
After inking Trey Burton to a multi-year deal on Tuesday, the Bears are expected to re-sign tight end Daniel Brown, according to Brad Biggs (Chicago Tribune), even though he was not tendered a contract as a restricted free agent earlier in the week.
Brown, formerly a receiver, caught just 13 passes for 129 yards for the Bears last season, but saw an up-tick in playing time after Zach Miller’s season-ending knee injury. After that, he averaged 28.3 plays per game over the final eight weeks of the year and had five games in which he played 30 offensive plays or more.
When Dowell Loggains was running the offense, the Bears used Brown primarily on passing downs and ran him most often out of the slot receiver position. Nearly 75 percent of Brown’s snaps came on passing plays, while he was used as a run blocker just 22.3 percent of the time. That type of predictability led to criticism of Loggains’ play-calling and John Fox’s ability to develop young talent, because it kept second-round pick Adam Shaheen off the field.
But more to the point, Brown’s return could spell the end of Dion Sims’ time in Chicago.
Today is the last day in which the Bears have to make a decision on Sims’ future, with regards to money that is owed to him in 2018. According to Biggs, $4 million of the $6 million base salary Sims’ owed for 2018 becomes fully guaranteed after Friday. For what it’s worth, the Bears have already parted ways with quarterback Mike Glennon and cornerback Marcus Cooper, a pair of players who had roster bonuses tied to the start of the new league year.
If you recall, the team had originally team expressed optimism that Sims could grow into a pass-catching target, after being mostly used as a blocker while with the Miami Dolphins, but that never came into fruition (Sims caught 15 passes for 180 yards and played on just 33.4 percent of the team’s passing snaps last season). Even still, Bears GM Ryan Pace said yesterday that he was “excited” to have Sims on the roster. I suppose we’ll see.