Bears Biggest Surprises of 2015: Part II

In the second installment of our Bears 2015 Biggest Surprises series, we take a look at an oft-injured tight end who outplayed the team's starter this year.

Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was one of the team's biggest disappointments last season. Coming off a 2014 campaign in which he caught 90 passes for nearly 1,000 yards, Bennett half-assed his way through most of 2015 because the Bears wouldn't give him more money. 

He was eventually placed on IR due to a "rib injury" in Week 13. 

Yet no one shed a tear after the Bears sent Bennett home, as Zach Miller was already proving his worth as a pass-catching tight end. 

In Week 10 against the Chargers, Miller had a one-handed game-winning grab in the fourth quarter, then followed that up with a 5-catch, 102-yard, 2-touchdown performance against the Rams in Week 11. As the full-time starter between Weeks 13-16, Miller tallied 18 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown. Down the stretch, he was the only dependable option for Jay Cutler and a passing attack decimated by injuries.

Before this year, Miller last played in an NFL regular season game in Week 6 of the 2011 campaign, as he suffered season-ending injuries in each of the next three years. Injuries are definitely a concern but when healthy, Miller is a legitimate No. 1 tight end.

He'll turn 32 a few weeks into the regular season next year but his body is relatively fresh due to three years of inactivity. As such, the Bears should make re-signing Miller a priority this off-season. Locking him down on a one-year deal full of health-related incentives gives the Bears peace of mind at the tight end position, at least in the short term. 

This will be especially important if the team parts ways with the Bennett, who I'm told has worn out his welcome in Chicago. 


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