Why the Chicago Bears tight ends will play a big role in 2022Josh De Lucaon May 27, 2022 at 1:00 pm

The Chicago Bears have always utilized the tight end position over the years. However, with this year’s group, tight ends could be utilized even more than in previous seasons.

Tight ends are a versatile position that sees reps in both the run and pass game. In certain situations, you can use 2 or 3 on a single play. With rumors that the Bears are going to be an outside zone team, they are going need multiple tight ends to contribute to the run game as well as the play-action pass game.

With the most recent free-agent additions, it looks like the Bears might have multiple players who can contribute.

Cole Kmet is the clear-cut TE1 for this team. In 17 games last season, Kmet had 60 receptions for 612 yards. Those aren’t eye popping numbers from a starting tight end but with Kmet just turning 23 years old, there is still much room to grow.

Kmet will also be improving this offseason by attending “Tight End University”, a camp ran by George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Greg Olsen.

Listed as the TE2 on the Bears roster is Ryan Griffin. Griffin, already 32 years old, has been in the NFL since 2013 and has started 67 games in his career. Just last season, Griffin started 12 games on the New York Jets.

In those 12 games, Griffin had 27 catches for 261 yards and 2TD’s. These aren’t great receiving numbers for a starting TE but where Griffin has really made his money over his career is in the run game as a punishing blocker.

James O’Shaughnessy is another free agent signing that also adds some leadership and talent into the TE room. A Chicago native, originally from Naperville North high school and eventually Illinois State, has been in the NFL since 2015.

The Chicago Bears seem to have a deep tight end room coming into 2022.

A very similar career trajectory to Ryan Griffin, James has started 40 games for multiple teams. Last season, O’Shaughnessy put up 24 receptions for 244 yards in only 7 games. That’s good for 34 yards a game.

With those type of receiving numbers, expect O’Shaughnessy to be more of a pass catching tight end, probably the second pass-catching option behind Cole Kmet.

The 4th and probably last tight end spot looks to be up for grabs between Rysen John and Jesper Horsted. On March 11th, Jesper Horsted was waived by the Bears due to a failed physical. The Bears immediately added former New York Giants tight end Rysen John.

Since then, the Bears have reclaimed Horsted and have placed him on their reserve/physically unable to perform list. This transaction leaves hope for Horsted to make a recovery and compete for the last TE spot.

Most teams only carry three tight ends into a game but the Bears have liked to suit up a 4th on multiple occasions This position on the depth chart still holds value on special teams and possible goal-line situations.

My prediction is that if Jesper Horstead is healthy and ready to go, he will take that last TE spot due to more production and his familiarity with the organization.

On 2 receptions last season, Horsted had 21 yards and 2TD’s. It is unlikely that he will mirror that production but he’s definitely worth keeping around.

With all of these players in one room, it’s hard to say the Bears won’t try to get as many of these guys on the field as they can.

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