On Saturday, the Chicago Bears released tight end Trey Burton who around two years ago signed a four-year, 32 million dollar contract. He was expected to be the main tight end for the Bears and to be a great outlet for young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. That didn’t work out. The Bears now have nine (yes, nine) tight ends on their roster. Jimmy Graham was added this offseason to help improve the group that didn’t see a single tight end reach 100 receiving yards last season.
If the Bears have nine tight ends, why do they need O.J. Howard? Well first of all, almost none of those tight ends will be on the roster come week one. A lot of them are camp bodies competing to make the team and possibly start. Right now, it is expected that Demetrius Harris will start at the ‘Y’ tight end and Graham will start at the ‘U’ tight end. After that, it is a crap-shoot of who could make the roster.
Howard was a former first-round pick back in 2017. He was highly-touted as one of the most athletic tight ends the NFL has seen in a long time. He was the top tight end in the draft by many sources as well. His NFL career hasn’t been as spectacular as the Buccaneers expected.
He has missed games every season due to injury and is reportedly looking for a new home. The Bears need a tight end that is young and could be their tight end of the future and Bruce Arians really doesn’t use his tight ends. This could be a perfect swap for the two teams.
What Would the Trade Cost?
O.J. Howard could be worth around a second round pick, which the Bears have two of. Here are some options the Bears can do to get O.J. Howard.
Chicago Bears send picks no. 50 and 196 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for O.J. Howard and pick no. 161.
This first one would be a great deal. The Bears would be converting one of their sixth-round picks to move up in the draft while also basically using pick no. 50 to add a potential star tight end. The only question would be if the Bears truly need a tight end that badly.
Chicago Bears send Tarik Cohen and pick no. 233 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for O.J. Howard.
This trade is another great trade for the Bears. The Bears offload Cohen, who is in a contract year and had an off-year, and give up a seventh-round pick for Howard. If this were the case, the Bears would need to add more running backs as they only have three running backs on the roster currently. This is also a great trade for the Buccaneers as they get a great receiving back and Tom Brady loves to use his receiving backs.
These are the best two options I see for the Bears. They could also make a similar trade to what the Falcons made to the Ravens for Hayden Hurst who was in a similar scenario. It would be better for Pace to lock up a guaranteed, proven tight end over a question mark at pick 50. It would also be better for pace to lock up a starting tight end over a gadget running back who struggled last season.
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