The Bears on Friday released veteran tight end Trey Burton and signed four players to one-year contracts—two of their own free agents in offensive lineman Rashaad Coward and tight end J.P. Holtz as well as offensive lineman Jason Spriggs and kicker Ramiz Ahmed.
Burton signed with the Bears as a free agent in 2018 and established career highs in all receiving categories with 54 catches, 569 yards and six touchdowns. Because of injuries in 2019, he was limited to eight games with five starts, catching 14 passes for 84 yards and no TDs.
The Bears bolstered the tight end position earlier this offseason by signing veteran Jimmy Graham, who has been voted to five Pro Bowls in 10 NFL seasons with the Saints (2010-14), Seahawks (2015-17) and Packers (2018-19).
Coward and Holtz were both exclusive-rights free agents—players with expiring contracts and fewer than three accrued NFL seasons who are only permitted to negotiate with their own team.
Coward originally joined the Bears in 2017 as an undrafted free agent defensive tackle from Old Dominion. He spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before appearing in one game against the Bengals.
Coward was moved to offensive tackle during the 2018 offseason. He spent the entire season on the Bears' active roster but did not play in any games. Last year after veteran Kyle Long suffered a season-ending injury, Coward stepped in at right guard, starting 10 contests.
Holtz was claimed by the Bears off waivers from the Redskins last Sept. 11. With injuries decimating the tight end position, Holtz made the most of expanded playing time, catching seven passes for 91 yards while appearing in 14 games with seven starts. He led the Bears with 56 receiving yards on three receptions in a Week 14 win over the Cowboys.
Holtz originally entered the NFL in 2016 with the Browns as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburgh. He made his NFL debut in last year's season opener with the Redskins before being waived by Washington a couple days later.
Spriggs appeared in 36 games with nine starts over three seasons with the Packers from 2016-18 before sitting out the 2019 campaign with an injury.
Selected by Green Bay in the second round of the 2016 draft from Indiana, Spriggs played in all 16 games as a rookie with two starts, both at right guard. He also saw time at both tackle positions.
After spending the first half of the 2017 season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, Spriggs was activated and appeared in seven games. The 6-6, 301-pounder started five straight contests at right tackle before injuring his knee in a Week 16 loss to the Vikings.
In 2018, Spriggs played in 13 games with two starts at right tackle. Last year he was waived/injured in August and then placed on injured reserve.
Ahmed last kicked at Nevada in 2018, when he made 15-of-20 field-goal attempts (75.0 percent). After not playing football while attending UNLV and Arizona State, he made the Wolf Pack team as a kickoff specialist in 2017 following a tryout.