Besides a solid offensive line, a quarterback’s best friend is the tight end. Chicago Bears starting quarterback Jay Culter hasn’t had that best friend for the last few seasons in the Windy City.
And why? Well, let’s look back in time.
Anybody remembers a few seasons ago when the Bears offense was run by Mike Marts? Well with Marts at the helm, for one reason or another, he couldn’t figure out what to do with then starting Bears tight end, Greg Olsen. Also, remember when then Bears GM Jerry Angelo, agreed with and accommodated Marts and traded Olsen to the Carolina Panthers?
Now, how has that trade worked out for the Bears? Yes, it hasn’t.
Since the departure of Olsen, the Bears have had a sleuth of unproductive tight ends attempting to fill his cleats. A modest observation of the tight end position for Chicago is that has been just short of atrocious. Since the 2011 season, the Bears have had several tight ends on the field: Brandon Manumaleuna, a block-first Matt Spaeth, a good-at-everything, great-at-nothing Desmond Clark and the questionably-handed Kellen Davis.
With the Bears parting ways with Davis in the off season, the organization acquired Martellus Bennett through free agency. Bennett, a former second-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, spent four years as Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten‘s understudy.
It wasn’t until last season when Bennett signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants and quickly developed a on the field chemistry with Eli Manning. For the 2012 season, Bennett had 55 receptions for 626 yards and five touchdowns.
For a Chicago Bears team that only saw 257 yards on 25 receptions from the tight end position, Bennett is an immediate upgrade. Going into training camp, he is the all-consensus starting tight end. With the Bears choosing not to spend any draft picks to add another tight end to the depth chart, they will go into June with Brody Eldridge, Steve Maneri, Gabe Miller and Fendi Onobun fighting for second team snaps as Bennett looks to build on his breakout 2012 season.