The Chicago Bears‘ newly signed tight end Steve Maneri may surprise you with the story behind how he got to this position in his career. Spending the past two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Maneri has been a solid blocking tight end who is dependable if called upon in the passing game as well.
After being undrafted and signed by the Houston Texans as an offensive tackle in 2010, Maneri was cut before the season started and joined the New England Patriots. Appearing only on the practice squad, the Patriots cut ties with him after his rookie year when he was then claimed by the Chiefs.
When Maneri got to Kansas City, the Chiefs were in the midst of trying to find a tight end they could use on the line as a big bodied blocker. They had told him all he had to do was cut a little weight and he was their man.
Maneri says he’s a lot happier at tight end after getting game time in 13 contests last year blocking for the AFC’s leading rusher, Jamaal Charles. In Chicago, he replaces the fan foe Kellen Davis, who many fans thought to be completely and utterly worthless to the Bears. I would be lying if I said I disagreed with them.
Combined with signing the more athletic, pass catching Martellus Bennett, the Bears have put themselves in an immensely greater position with their tight ends going into this next season. General manager Phil Emery has taken the position and pulled a complete 180 in free agency, much to the excitement of Chicago fans.
In Chicago, Maneri will have the pleasure of blocking for one of the NFL‘s most well-rounded backs in Matt Forte, as well as chipping in with the protection of quarterback Jay Cutler here and there. The Bears have continued to do well for them this offseason, even with having very little cap space to work with. Maneri is yet another example of an under-the-radar signing that could prove to be crucial to the team next season.