Which tight ends could interest Bears?

Posted Feb 23, 2017

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses the top tight ends in free agency and the draft, the likelihood of quarterback Connor Shaw competing for a job with the Bears and the NFL's top potential free agents who are 28 years old or younger.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on

I’d like to see the Bears acquire a couple of tight ends this offseason. Who are some of the options in free agency and the draft?

Pete F.
Northfield, Illinois

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has said that this year’s tight end class in the draft may be the best he’s ever seen.’s Daniel Jeremiah ranks four tight ends among his top 50 prospects coming out of college: Miami’s David Njoku at No. 12, Alabama’s O.J. Howard at No. 13, Mississippi’s Evan Engram at No. 43 and South Alabama’s Gerald Everett at No. 44. It will also be interesting to see where Michigan’s Jake Butt is drafted. He no doubt would have been among the top tight ends taken before he tore his ACL in the Orange Bowl. Possibilities in free agency may include the Dolphins’ Jordan Cameron, the Packers’ Jared Cook, the Redskins’ Vernon Davis, the Titans’ Anthony Fasano and the Cardinals’ Jermaine Gresham.

Is there any chance the Bears would give Connor Shaw a shot at quarterback?

Jeffery R.

I could definitely see the Bears re-signing Connor Shaw, most likely to compete for the No. 2 position in 2017. I know that Shaw impressed coach John Fox last summer before the quarterback broke his leg in the third preseason game. Shaw completed 11 of 16 passes for 127 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a 132.0 passer rating in preseason action. Even after sustaining the injury against the Chiefs, Fox said that Shaw “has a bright future here” and praised his intangibles and the impression he made on teammates and coaches.

I know that general manager Ryan Pace has made a concerted effort to sign free agents who are in the prime of their careers rather than those on their last legs. Who are some of the NFL’s top free agents that are, say, 28 years old or younger?

Steve A.
Omaha, Nebraska
Twenty of the best 25 potential NFL free agents according to are 28 years or younger, including the top five: Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (25), Chiefs safety Eric Berry 928), Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler (27), Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones (27) and Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (28). Others in the top 10 include Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram (28), Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (28) and Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (26).

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