Should the Chicago Bears Consider Veteran TE Dallas Clark?

By Andrew Fisher
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of talk about the Chicago Bearstight end position this offseason. The team did upgrade with the signing of Martellus Bennett early in free agency, but many people question whether or not he can be the feature tight end. Bennett is good, it’s just still unclear how good, he can really be. He should have the best opportunity of his career, as he figures to get a lot of targets in Marc Trestman‘s offensive system.

Even though Bennett is a clear asset for the offense, many analysts thought the Bears would still add another tight end via the draft. They had their choice of the top prospects in this year’s class at No. 20, but they passed to upgrade their offensive line with Kyle Long.

Now, it seems like a logical plan-B for the Bears to look back to the free agent market to add one more tight end to the mix. There aren’t many notable players left, but there are still a few Chicago should at least take a glance at. Chris Cooley, Randy McMichael, and Dallas Clark are the most proven veterans available, and I think either Cooley or Clark would make the most sense.

Cooley is Redskin, through and through. He was hurt badly by the team’s decision to cut him last year, but still found his way back onto the roster before the end of the season. So with it likely being Washington or bust for Cooley, Clark arguably becomes the top veteran TE available. However, one word immediately comes to mind – old. Clark is a banged up grizzled veteran, with his best days behind him. There’s no debate about it. But, he did have a solid season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012.

It was his first season post-Indy, and he did alright, staying on the field for all 16 games, while starting seven. In total, he hauled in 47 passes for 435 yards, and it was by far his best season since 2009. The old Clark certainly isn’t back, but he’s still a guy who can come in and contribute. I don’t see what the Bears would have to lose by bringing him in for a workout?

Clark probably has enough gas left in the tank for one more decent season, and he could easily play second fiddle to Bennett in Chicago. He’d be incredibly cheap to sign, and there really wouldn’t be a whole lot of risk in giving him a shot at the final roster. Clark recently said he wants to play in 2013, but that he’s yet to receive an offer.


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