Chicago Bears: Tyler Clutts

Bears, McManis agree to one-year deal

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
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The Bears agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday with standout special-teams cornerback Sherrick McManis.

McManis finished second on the team last year with 15 special-teams tackles.

The 6-foot-1 native of Peoria, Ill., has appeared in 27 games for the Bears over the last two seasons and recorded 25 combined stops on special teams. He was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 9 of 2012 for blocking a punt that was returned for a touchdown.

McManis spent his first two years in the league with the Houston Texans before being traded to the Bears on Aug. 31, 2012, in exchange for fullback Tyler Clutts.

The Texans selected McManis in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft with the 144th overall selection. McManis played collegiately at Northwestern, where he ranked sixth on the Wildcats' career interceptions list with nine and third on the school's pass breakups list with 30.

While McManis is now back in the fold, veteran free-agent cornerback Zack Bowman remains unsigned. Most of the team's second- and third-tier players have agreed to terms on contracts in the offseason that include no guaranteed money. That has resulted in certain players being reluctant to accept new contracts, but options for many are dwindling a week-plus into the free-agency period.

Bowman recorded 49 tackles, three interceptions and one touchdown in seven starts for the Bears last season.

Update: Bears trade Clutts

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
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The Bears traded fullback Tyler Clutts to the Houston Texans for cornerback Sherrick McManis, a two-year veteran out of Northwestern, ESPNChicago.com comfirmed.

The Houston Chronicle originally reported the news.

ESPNChicago.com reported earlier that Clutts had been released.

[+] EnlargeBrittan Golden
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBrittan Golden returned a blocked punt for a TD on Thursday, but that didn't save him a roster spot.
The Chicago Bears have released fullback Tyler Clutts and receiver Brittan Golden on Friday, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Golden, an undrafted rookie, returned a blocked punt 22 yards for a touchdown in the Bears' win over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.

"Well I got released today it was a long road," Golden tweeted. "Chicago thanks for the love it was an honor to be here. thanks for the memories."

Final roster cuts are being made Friday.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears fullback Tyler Clutts watched all offseason as the next evolution of the offense implemented more plays involving tight ends as lead blockers, leaving him to wonder how he’d separate from the pack to earn a roster spot.

[+] EnlargeTyler Clutts
Bradley Leeb/US PresswireTyler Clutts has been replaced as lead blocker on running plays by tight ends for much of the preseason.
Clutts came into camp knowing he’d be on the bubble, but he’s also aware there’s a team -- perhaps the Bears -- that appreciates the fullback position, and could use his services.

“Coming into camp, I knew as a fullback I was gonna have to distinguish myself as a physical blocker, someone that can pound out the tough yards, help Matt (Forte) pound out the tough yards,” Clutts said. “For me, I think short yardage and some first-down runs are really what I feel like I can (do to) separate myself from other blocking tight ends blocking in the backfield.”

Having bounced around in the CFL with Edmonton, the UFL with the Sacramento Mountain Lions, and the Arena League, Clutts in 2010 finally earned a spot on the practice squad of the Cleveland Browns. Clutts spent two weeks with Cleveland that year, in addition to the preseason of 2011 before the Bears snatched him up off the Browns’ practice squad.

Clutts played all 16 games in 2011 with the Bears (eight starts), catching eight passes for 48 yards in addition to clearing the way as the lead blocker on several of Forte’s runs. The second-year veteran also took over long snapping in Week 11 when Patrick Mannelly suffered a knee injury.

(Read full post)

Offseason position outlook: Running back

February, 7, 2012
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TBDScott Boehm/Getty ImagesOne thing is certain about Matt Forte -- he is in line for a big raise in 2012.
This is the second installment of a 10-part series that reviews every Bears position group on offense and defense, while also taking a quick look at potential free agent targets and the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft.

Matt Forte shook off disappointment in contract negotiations and trepidation about his long-term future with the franchise in 2011, and put together his first Pro Bowl campaign before a knee injury knocked him out of the last five games.

All throughout last season and thus far this offseason, contract negotiations between Forte -- a pending unrestricted free agent -- and the Bears dominated most discussions regarding the franchise. The question now is whether the sides can consummate a deal. New general manager Phil Emery declined to tip the club’s hand in negotiations, which are expected to pick up in the coming days.

Team president Ted Phillips said there’s no way the Bears let Forte hit the open market.

“We’d like to [work out a long-term contract with Forte],” Phillips said. “But as Phil [Emery] pointed out, we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him.”

That’s fine by Forte, as long as the team uses the tag to buy it more time to strike a long-term deal.

The team will have to designate Forte its franchise player -- or work out an extension with the running back -- between Feb. 20 and Mar. 5. If the Bears tag him, they have until July 16 to sign Forte to a new contract.

The running back hinted that “people probably wouldn’t know where I was” if the sides don’t reach a long-term agreement.

THE CURRENT ROSTER


Matt Forte: Despite contentious negotiations with the team prior to the season opener, Forte decided to prove his worth on the field by out-producing players such as Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Oakland’s Darren McFadden -- both earning more than 10 times Forte’s 2011 base salary -- in total yards from scrimmage (1,487) despite missing more than a month of action.

Forte finished the season ranked 10th in the NFL -- at all positions -- in total yards from scrimmage, and led the league in that statistical category prior to suffering a sprained knee on Dec. 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Given the team’s expected shift to more of a run-oriented offense, Forte’s value remains high. Emery has already touched base with Forte’s agent, Adisa Bakari, and it appears the team will finally make a legitimate effort at striking an agreement with the Pro Bowl running back.

[+] EnlargeKhalil Bell
AP Photo/Jack DempseyKahlil Bell's play late in the season could allow the bears to cut Marion Barber loose.
Marion Barber: Barber is set to receive a $100,000 workout bonus this offseason, and is scheduled to earn $1.9 million in base salary for the 2012 season. While Barber has proven to be a dependable backup/complement to Forte, his salary -- although not high -- might be too much because there appears to be a younger, less expensive, and potentially better option waiting in the wings in Kahlil Bell.

Bears coach Lovie Smith pointed out that Barber’s injury history is cause for concern. Lingering calf issues led to Barber being inactive in five games.

Kahlil Bell: If Bell didn’t outright earn the No. 2 job behind Forte with his play down the stretch, he should at least receive a real opportunity to compete for the spot in training camp.

A restricted free agent, Bell likely will receive a low tender from the team, which might lead to Barber’s departure, especially if the Bears also manage to sign Forte.

Bell averaged 4.3 yards per attempt in 2011 and produced his first 100-yard outing on Christmas at Green Bay. Interestingly, Bell blends some of the attributes of Forte (elusiveness) and Barber (power), which surely bodes well for his future with the Bears. Bell acknowledged that fumbles were somewhat of a problem during the season, but it’s not a situation that can’t be remedied.

Armando Allen: Could wind up sticking as the No. 3 running back if he can contribute on special teams. He showed promise in the final two games of 2011, rushing 11 times for 40 yards on Christmas against the Packers.

Because of Allen’s size -- 5 foot 10, 190 pounds -- he'll definitely need to use the offseason to add bulk and strength.

Tyler Clutts: The Bears entered last offseason looking for a true fullback, and they uncovered a gem in Clutts, a punishing lead blocker who can also be a threat out of the backfield (eight catches for 48 yards in 2011).

The lone fullback on the roster, Clutts also contributed on special teams in 2011, making three stops on coverage teams. His role may grow in the new Tice-led offense.

Robert Hughes: A Chicago native, Hughes spent time last season on the team’s practice squad and might be a longshot to make the 2012 roster. A strong showing in the preseason finale of 2011 led to Hughes winding up on the practice squad.

Bears free agents: Forte, Bell (restricted)

POTENTIAL FREE AGENT TARGETS


None

WHY THE BEARS MIGHT STAND PAT


Even if the Bears don’t sign Forte to an extension, they’ll still be on the hook for approximately $8 million with the franchise tag. Tack on Barber’s $1.9 million base salary and a likely tender offer for Bell, and the Bears will have more than $10 million committed to salaries of running backs.

So if the Bears decide to keep Barber and Bell, don’t expect them to make any moves in free agency at the position. The club may wind up cutting Barber loose and keeping Bell as the No. 2, while adding to the position with a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.

Free Head Exam: Chicago Bears

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
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After the Chicago Bears' 24-18 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, here are three issues that merit further examination:

  1. Yes, I know. It's not who starts fast. In the NFL, oftentimes slow and steady wins the race. So it's worth noting that the Bears were three games behind the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions after Week 5. Two weeks later, they're within a game of the Lions (5-2) and are putting themselves into the conversation for postseason discussion. As of Monday afternoon, there are five teams with a better record than the Bears. They are one of three teams that are 4-3, which is the same mark the Bears had last season on the way to an 11-5 finish and the NFC North title. The Packers might not give up the top spot in this division, but the Bears are puttering along at a time when the Lions haven't yet answered questions about their 16-game endurance.
  2. Head Exam
    Kevin SeifertThe Chicago Bears take their turn in the examination room after beating Tampa Bay.

  3. You'll hear plenty this week about tailback Matt Forte's 145-yard performance. It'll also be noted that Forte already has 672 rushing yards this season (second in the league behind the Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson), and that he has already surpassed 1,000 all-purpose yards for the season. But we also should take a moment to recognize that he has gotten some nice blocking this season. Take another look at his 32-yard touchdown run Sunday. You'll see textbook blocking, relative to their positions, from offensive lineman Chris Spencer, tight end Matt Spaeth, receiver Roy Williams (yes) and fullback Tyler Clutts. You don't average 96 yards per game on your own. For as much criticism as the Bears' offense has taken this season, it's worth nothing that it's doing some things really well.
  4. You wonder if the Bears' safety carousel will continue to turn after their bye week. Major Wright was deactivated for the game, presumably because of a hip injury, even though he had been listed as probable on the injury report. Veteran Chris Harris returned to the starting lineup as a result, but he appeared to get beat for a touchdown by Buccaneers receiver Dezmon Briscoe. Rookie Chris Conte had an interception and two passes defensed Sunday and will probably keep his starting job despite giving up a touchdown to tight end Kellen Winslow. Whether Harris or Wright starts alongside him Nov. 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles is anyone's guess.
And here is one issue I still don't get:
Was Sunday about the law of averages for Williams, or is he growing more comfortable with his situation and gearing up to be a consistent contributor for a team that hopes to be in contention over the final two months of the season? I'm not sure yet. Williams caught his first touchdown of the season among his four catches and totaled a season-high 59 yards. A cynic would say that defenses are so unconcerned about him that they aren't paying much attention and will give him plenty of opportunities to make plays. Time will tell.

Bears sign FB Clutts

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears signed fullback Tyler Clutts off the Cleveland Browns' practice squad.

The Bears had an opening at the fullback position on their 53-man roster after they released Will Ta'ufo'ou on Tuesday.

An undrafted rookie out of Fresno State in 2008, Clutts spent time in the CFL, AFL and UFL before signing a futures contract with Cleveland in January.

He played for the UFL Sacramento Mountain Lions in 2008.

Former Bears fullback Eddie Williams is expected to replace Clutts on the Browns practice squad pending a physical.

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