Opportunity is knocking for Trey Burton.
Burton has never played more than 345 snaps in a season, but will get his chance to show off his potential after signing a four-year deal with the Chicago Bears last week. He could start the season as the team’s top tight end and is arguably the team’s best pass-catching option at the position.
After serving behind some talented tight ends, Burton arrives in Chicago as a sleeper to do be a reliable target for Mitch Trubisky.
Player, Age (in 2018), Position
Trey Burton, 27, tight end
- 4 years, $32 million
- $18 million guaranteed at signing
- $22 million in total guarantees
- $8 million average salary
- Season stats: 15 games (1 starts), 23 catches, 248 yards, 108 yards per catch, 5 touchdown.
- Pro Football Focus grade: 75.6
When Zach Ertz was ruled out for the Eagles’ marquee matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, it was Burton who stepped up with a clutch performance. He caught five passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns in Philadelphia’s 43-35 win. His performance garnered national attention and it definitely caught our eye in that high-scoring affair.
Those are the kinds of numbers Burton could put up if given an expanded role in an offense, which he’s clearly lined up to receive now that he is in Chicago.
- Career stats: 61 games (5 starts), 95 targets, 63 catches, 629 yards, 6 touchdowns
- Per 16 games: 25 targets, 17 catches, 165 yards, two touchdowns
- Notable achievements: 2014 NFL All-Rookie Team, as voted on by the Pro Football Writers Association; threw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl
- Pro Football Focus grades: 65.6 (2016), 61.5 (2015), 44.2 (2014)
Burton has played in the shadow of two pretty good tight ends in Zach Ertz and Brent Celerk, but it’s encouraging that he earned a spot on PFWA’s All-Rookie Team. Even though Burton didn’t catch a pass as a rookie, his contributions on special teams were not overlooked. Further, this should be viewed as a clear sign that Burton knows what it takes to grow and develop as a player.
He started from the bottom of the depth chart in Philadelphia, now he’s here in Chicago, looking to take advantage of a new opportunity that comes with increased playing time.
Burton has missed just three games in his four-year NFL career, playing in 61 of 64 possible games. Signing a player who has been available for 95.3 percent of his games feels like a good thing.
After playing on on just 26.5 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps in 2017, Burton will see a significant boost in playing time. That will be good for him, as well as his new quarterback.
Burton probably isn’t going to pass block (just 2.9 percent of his total snaps came in that capacity last season) but what he will do is run out in patterns. Armed with a 6-3, 235-pound frame and a career catch rate of 66.3 percent, Burton has the build (and the hands) of a pass-catching tight end that quarterbacks love to target. Burton isn’t going to line up as a traditional tight end often, as Pro Football Focus notes more than 37 percent of his snaps came when he was lined up in the slot.
During his introductory press conference, Burton said he modeled his game after former teammate Zach Ertz. That’s a good place to start for Burton, considering Ertz is one of the modern faces of what tight end plays looks and plays like in the NFL (Ertz played on 68 percent of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps last season). If Burton can get that kind of an opportunity, he could end up being one of the Bears’ three most-targeted pass-catchers.
In short, there is a ton to dream on here with Burton.
“I don’t have to learn a new offense. I basically know the whole thing. Ninety-five percent of the playbook, I already know.”
Trey Burton played in Doug Pederson’s offense with the Philadelphia Eagles. Matt Nagy was the QBs Coach under Pederson when he was the Kansas City Chiefs’ OC under Andy Reid. It all checks out.
You can watch Burton’s introductory press conference in its entirety here: