Chicago Bears: Anthony Fasano

Bears free agency preview: Tight ends

January, 30, 2013
1/30/13
10:51
AM ET
GiantsRob Carr/Getty ImagesIf the Giants let Martellus Bennett hit the open market he figures to get a lot of attention.
The Chicago Bears need a tight end capable of working the middle of the field who can catch the ball on a regular basis. But it doesn't appear that person is on the team's roster.

It would be viewed by many as an upset if Kellen Davis sees the second year of the contract he signed with the Bears last offseason that calls for a base salary of $2.4 million in 2013. Davis just isn't the dependable threat in the passing game the Bears need at tight end. He had far too many drops last year as he struggled to stay upright whenever he had to turn his body to make a catch or run up field.

[+] EnlargeEvan Rodriguez
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhWill Evan Rodriguez emerge as a dependable receiver in his second season?
That needs to be fixed.

Further down the depth chart are accomplished blocker Matt Spaeth, developing pass-catcher Kyle Adams, and 2012 fourth-round pick Evan Rodriguez, who spent his rookie year lining up roughly 10-12 snaps per game at the hybrid H-Back position. The Bears' reserves are more than capable to handle their respective roles, but the team has been lacking a front-line tight end since the previous regime decided to trade Greg Olsen to Carolina in the summer of 2011.

In a twist of bad luck, there are a handful of talented tight ends slated to be restricted free agents, led by Dennis Pitta, who had a breakout year for the Baltimore Ravens with 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season. Pitta also has two postseason touchdown receptions for the AFC champions.

Acquiring restricted free agents is much trickier because teams have a right to match any offer sheet the player signs, and depending on the tender amount, teams can be due compensation in the form of draft picks if they decide not to match the offer.

The Bears are in desperate need of an upgrade and will no doubt investigate and consider all the available options. If they decide to address the issue in free agency, here is a list of some of the projected unrestricted free agent tight ends.

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