Tight End Robert Tonyan is Leaving the Packers for the Bears

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Tight End Robert Tonyan is Leaving the Packers for the Bears

Chicago Bears

D.J. Moore won’t be the only new pass catcher joining the Chicago Bears this offseason.

OK, so tight end Robert Tonyan isn’t a high-profile player. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the former Green Bay Packers tight end is joining the Bears on a one-year deal. And with Aaron Rodgers leaving Green Bay, I can understand why Tonyan was quick to latch on to the best QB in the division:

Tonyan, 28, is coming off a 53-catch, 470-yard, 2-touchdown season for the 2022 Packers. The McHenry (Ill.) native had a 2020 season to remember catching 52 passes, picking up 586 receiving yards, and scoring 11 touchdowns. Getting Tonyan to Chicago on a one-year deal with an offensive coordinator he knows and a system he should be familiar with makes so much sense. The Bears were needing another capable tight end to team with Cole Kmet. And now, they have one in Tonyan. This isn’t me predicting Tonyan is going to be a world-beater. But his arrival should represent an upgrade on the depth chart behind Kmet.

What makes me chuckle about the Tonyan signing is that I was a year early on it. Last offseason, I was wondering if the Bears would make a run at Tonyan. And with good reason. Firstly, there was the Luke Getsy connection. Plus, there were reasonable contract projections that looked like something reasonable a rebuilding team like the Bears would draw up. After all, Tonyan’s potential asking price was going to take a hit since he was coming off an ACL injury that was going to slow him down early. But that 2020 season made him a high-risk, high-reward option at a value price. Fast forward a year and it looks like the Bears are rolling the dice on a lotto ticket.

From a schematic standpoint, Tonyan is a willing and able-bodied blocker. But he is also a vertical threat as a receiver. Back in 2020, Tonyan’s four deep receiving touchdowns were the most of any tight end per PFF’s calculations. Meaning that 4 of the 11 touchdowns Tonyan caught came on deep shot plays. That plays right into Justin Fields’ strengths.

I imagine the Bears will be doing more to add to the skill positions via free agency in the coming days, weeks, and months. We’ll dive into draft stuff eventually. But for now, we should be turning our attention to bargain players with upside. Players who check boxes like Robert Tonyan.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.