Gilmore signed Mar. 1 with Tampa Bay as an unrestricted free agent, meaning the Monsters of the Midway need another big-bodied tight end to block and catch the occasional play-action pass in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Clark is an adequate blocker at best, while Olsen is strictly a receiving threat and needs to get tougher in the trenches. Chicago also has former practice-squader Fontel Mines on the roster, although he is a converted wide receiver and isn't built to handle the dirty work as a glorified third tackle.
With nobody on the free-agent market to truly be excited about at this point, the Bears have targeted two tight end prospects who could be selected on the second day of the NFL Draft this April.
TE Joey Haynos
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Scout.com has confirmed that team officials met with Joey Haynos of Maryland last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and they've also scheduled a private workout with Anthony Cotrone of Maine.
Haynos (6-7, 255) is a gigantic target and does a good job catching the ball on short and intermediate routes, although he needs to get stronger in his lower body and has trouble moving defenders off the ball at the line of scrimmage. Cotrone (6-2, 253), who actually showed up to Orono as a quarterback before developing into a fullback and H-back, performed well at Maine's pro day with 28 repetitions at 225 pounds in the bench press, although he's still very raw and has never been a tight end in the classic sense of the position. Haynos is considered a sixth- or seventh-round prospect, while Cotrone will most certainly have to catch on with a team as an undrafted free agent.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo has much higher priorities on his draft wish list, but a late-round pick to compete with Mines for No. 3 duties is a definite possibility.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.