G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

“Ballin’ On A Budget, Pt. 3: Tight Ends”

Ryan Pace has done an amazing job since taking over as general manager of the Chicago Bears – that much is obvious. Even with questionable signings (or flat out mistakes) like Trey Burton and Cody Parkey, Pace has still solidified himself as one of the smarter GM’s in football. With that being said, nobody knows what the Bears will do with the roster, or how much money will be thrown around. Here are the best options for the Bears if they are trying to penny-pinch in the tight-end position this off-season:

C.J. Uzomah:

When looking for a tight-end this season, a receiving tight-end is the only one that makes sense with this offensive attack. Uzomah averaged 10 yards a catch last season, on 43 receptions. Due to injuries on the tight-end side of the Bengals’ depth chart Uzomah was able to find himself in games often. He usually had to fight for playing time with Tyler Kroft – and both had their chances to be the main-tight-end target when Tyler Eifert went out. C.J. is the type of wide-out who can move around the line of scrimmage much like the Bears tried to use Trey Burton. He isn’t a strong blocker, but at least puts his big 6’5” frame in front of a guy. He may have been the type of guys who was under-utilized in college (Auburn) and the same can be said for his time with the Bengals.

Jeff Huererman:

(Source: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America)

This is a name not on anybody’s radar and for good reason. Huererman hasn’t done much in his college career or his pro career. So, why is he on this list you ask? It’s called “Ballin’ On A Budget” for a reason, folks. . .

When playing tight-end for the Buckeye’s his stand-out season was his junior year where he averaged 18 yards a catch on 26 receptions with 466 yards and four touchdowns. . . his numbers pretty much got cut in half his senior year but was still considered a top 3-5 tight end prospect when he entered the draft ini 2015. During his time in Denver, he was injured before the season started in 2015, and for the following two seasons he could not beat out the likes of Virgil Green. . . he started for the Broncos last year and started at tight end for 10 games, netting 31 catches for 281 yards and two TD’s. . .Huererman’s season was cut off short because of a bruised lung. He is a vertical threat and above average athlete who, for the right price is worth the gamble, especially considering it looked like he was finally putting it all together last season. . .

Jesse James:

 

Source: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America

James is actually considered to be a pretty popular choice in the tight-end market this off-season, but even then – just how much will he demand? Sure James is only 25 years old, and is a competent receiving tight end / red-zone threat but what’s been impressive is that since he’s come in from Penn State, he’s actually worked-on and improved himself to be a better blocker. His reception total dropped from 43 in 2017 to 30 in 2018 but he increased his total yardage from 372 to 423 and his yards per catch went from 8.7 to an impressive 14.1. At 6’7” he is a definite red-zone threat and has shown flashes of athleticism where he puts that frame to good use. Depending what the market is for free agent tight ends, there is good reason to consider James considering what his “number” will be.

 

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio