- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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While we have a spare second, let's take a moment to examine what the arrival of tight end Brandon Manumaleuna will mean -- and not mean -- for Chicago.
Manumaleuna led St. Louis tight ends in receptions for three seasons when Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz was the Rams head coach. Over that period, however, he caught a total of 57 passes. So none of us should view Manumaleuna as a big-time receiving threat. He's a nearly 300-pound blocking tight end who is a good fit in a scheme that routinely asks tight ends to pass block against defensive ends.
Does that mean Clark, a longtime locker room staple, is on the way out? Not necessarily. As Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com points out, he is due a roster bonus of $475,000 on Friday. If Clark were going to be released, you would think it would have come before now. (Then again, what's $475,000 to a team prepared to drop 10 times that money on free agency this year?)
The bigger question is whether there is any reason to believe Manumaleuna is a candidate to replace Olsen as the Bears' primary tight end. I'll repeat what we've discussed before: In previous incarnations of Martz's offense, that might have been the case. But Martz quite simply must find a way to incorporate Olsen's unique skills into his scheme.
Manumaleuna actually could help with that by handling the traditional roles of a Martz tight end. That would free up Olsen to be used in the innovative and creative ways that Martz presumably is already working on.
5hEric D. Williams