Despite the fact that the Chicago Bears gave Zach Miller a two-year contract to take over as the starting tight end last week, general manager Ryan Pace is still looking to add depth to the position. After trading Martellus Bennett two weeks ago, the Bears have been looking for every way possible to try and replace the production that Bennett is taking with him to the New England Patriots. They definitely tried to get creative earlier this week when they signed restricted free agent Josh Hill to an offer sheet. If Hill accepts he’ll be getting a three-year deal. But first the Bears have to wait for the New Orleans Saints to try and match their offer and the Saints have until this weekend to do so.
Hill went undrafted out of Idaho State in 2013 but New Orleans took a chance on him anyway. He spent his first two seasons sitting behind Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham, but last season Hill finally got his chance at meaningful snaps. In three seasons Hill has caught 36 of Drew Brees’ passes for 340 yards and eight touchdowns. If he ultimately signs with the Bears he’ll add an extra receiver to the Bears current crop of tight ends. Ryan Pace made the deal while attending the NFL’s annual owners meetings this week.
“We’re still entertaining some other options that are out there. So that’s sort of an ongoing, a fluid process as we speak,” said Pace while speaking with the media at the owners meetings this week. Each tight end currently on the Bears roster brings a different skill set to the table. Miller is probably the closest thing the Bears have to an “all-purpose” tight end (receiver, blocker, etc) although his blocking could use some improvement. Khari Lee has only caught one pass in the NFL and is still trying to earn his keep in the league. Rob Housler is primarily known for his blocking ability, and the recently added Gannon Sinclair has only been a practice squad player thus far.
Should the Bears eventually land Hill they’ll be getting an additional receiver who has some game experience. But the important issue for both Pace and head coach John Fox is depth at every position. Especially positions that have seen change such as their front seven which was their focus during the first week of free agency. Pace and Fox are looking to change the culture at Halas Hall and sometimes those changes include parting ways with fan favorite players. But if these changes translate into wins, Bears fans will start to embrace the administration’s new way of thinking.