Will Dion Sims be the Chicago Bears' surprise starter in 2018?

USA Today

Will Dion Sims be the Chicago Bears' surprise starter in 2018?

The Chicago Bears made a hefty investment in tight end this offseason with the four-year, $32 million contract given to Trey Burton. The former Philadelphia Eagle is expected to man the U-tight end spot for the Bears, a role made famous by Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce.

Burton's addition has called Dion Sims' role into question only one year removed from Sims being the high-priced free agent. General manager Ryan Pace signed him to a three-year, $18 million contract last offseason, but his first year in Chicago didn't go as hoped. He started 14 games and managed only 15 catches for 180 yards and one touchdown. Hardly the kind of production expected from a player with his price tag, even if he's more of an in-line tight end.

The good news for Sims is coach Matt Nagy needs more than just Burton in his starting lineup. Sims will battle second-year player Adam Shaheen for the primary in-line role.

Sims was recently tabbed as the player most likely to become a surprise starter for the Bears in the fall.

Don't write off Sims just yet, because the tight end fills a certain niche within Nagy's offense. Sims can still be a factor in two-tight end sets and the running game, as his blocking makes him an ideal in-line option. 

Nagy and the Bears coaching staff will have unique depth to work with at tight end. Burton brings the most athletic ability and playmaking upside to the position group, but the combination of all three gives the Bears offense more options and targets in the passing game no matter who's on the field. That's a really good problem for second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to have.

The recent re-signing of Zach Miller will help all three as well. He'll be able to serve as a quasi-coach while he continues his recovery from the leg injury he suffered last season.

Bears' 2020 offseason dates you need to know

Bears' 2020 offseason dates you need to know

The Bears 2020 offseason feels like it's been underway for a while, but the reality is it's just getting started. The fun gets underway in March when unrestricted free agency kicks off, followed by the 2020 NFL Draft – when GM Ryan Pace will try to flip Chicago's two second-round picks into potential starters for a team that isn't that far away from contending for a Super Bowl.

Here are the key dates to bookmark in your calendar for the Bears' offseason:

February 2020

  • Feb. 24-March 1 – NFL Scouting Combine
  • Feb. 25 – Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy meet with media at NFL Combine

March 2020

  • Feb. 24 – March 1 – NFL Scouting Combine
  • March 18 – Free agency and new league year begins

April 2020

  • April 7 – Ed Block Courage Award presentation
  • April 20 – Bears may begin offseason workout programs
  • April 21 – Brian Piccolo Awards presented to rookie and veteran
  • April 21 – Ryan Pace will speak with the media ahead of NFL Draft
  • April 23-25 – 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas

May 2020

  • May 8-10 – Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall
  • May 16 – Bears Care Gala at Soldier Field
  • May 27 – May 29 – OTA practices

JUNE 2020

  • June 2-4 – OTA practices
  • June 8 – 11 – OTA practices
  • June 16-18 – Mandatory full-squad minicamp

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

The NFL offseason is gearing up this winter, with trade and salary rumors running rampant among analysts and fans. Bears GM Ryan Pace has his work cut out for him, with a decently sized to-do list before the 2020 season, including finding competition under center for QB Mitch Trubisky. From Tom Brady to Philip Rivers, there are plenty of quarterback options, but one player may be too expensive for the Bears.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to rake in big money in free agency. With a projected salary to the tune of $30 million per year, Bridgewater could land a lucrative deal.

It makes some sense Bridgewater could come with such a hefty price tag. He earned above-average rankings in adjusted yards per attempt (15th), QB Rating (11th), TD Rate (13th) and completion rate (6th) among 38 QBs to start at least five games in 2019. If Drew Brees decides to keep playing, the Saints will have to choose between Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as their backup.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer previously reported if Brees were to retire, the Saints viewed Hill as their new franchise quarterback, leaving Bridgewater free to explore other options.

It has yet to be seen how Brees and the Saints will proceed, but it’s certainly a reality check to see how expensive the QB market will be this offseason. 

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