An Assessment of the Competition for the Third and Fourth Tight End Spots

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:

“How many tight ends do you see the Bears carrying to the 53-man roster? Is Bradley Sowell a roster lock since the Bears have pretty much asked him to alter his entire career to match their need for a Y tight end? — @gumm006

My best guess is four tight ends will make the 53-man roster with Sowell having an edge over undrafted rookie Ian Bunting for the final spot behind Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker. I would not describe Sowell as a “lock,” and his contract certainly doesn’t give him any kind of protection because of guaranteed money. The Bears would not promise him anything in asking him to change positions either.

I think Bradley Sowell is a virtual lock to make the roster on this team. Head coach Matt Nagy used a third offensive tackle to block last year in a variety of short yardage situations, especially near the goal line. I think he wants to do that again this year with Sowell but in situations where he’s more versatile as a receiving threat rather than the target on a one time gadget play.

The guy I’m wondering about is Braunecker. He’s a four phase special teamer but based upon his performance in last week’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Bunting looks like he has a lot more to offer the offense.

Bunting had big highs and big lows over the course of the game and he needs to show more consistency. That might make him a practice squad candidate. But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that Braunecker will be a surprise cut if the Bears think Bunting has improved enough and/or they don’t think they can get him through waivers to the practice squad.

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