Chicago Bears Sign or Pass: Eric Ebron

Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Would Eric Ebron be a smart signing for the Chicago Bears?

After a career-high 2018, an injury-filled 2019 leaves Eric Ebron entering the offseason without a contract. Ebron elected to get season-ending surgery to ensure that he was healthy for his chance at a contract which may have rubbed the Colts the wrong way.

Still, with that in mind, it does not sound as if Ebron will returning to Indianapolis. On the other end of the spectrum, the Chicago Bears need a tight end in the worst way. The team was down to J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted after losing three starters to injury.

Is Ebron the tight end that the Chicago Bears have been looking for, or is there a reason that he is going to be on the free-agent market? Spotrac has him projected to see a 4-year, $29.9 million deal averaging about $7.5 million per year.


As mentioned, the reason to sign is obvious. A staple of the Matt Nagy offense is the tight end. Look at Travis Kelce with Andy Reid and Zach Ertz with Doug Pederson. Matt Nagy needs his version of that.

He has Trey Burton, but too much usage in 2018 led to 2019 of recovering from injuries. He is a nice piece but is not a staple of an offense.

Ebron is a perfect compliment to Burton, who will be returning for the 2020 season. Burton is a “U” tight end, who motions before the snap to help identify defenses. He can be used in the screen game and short passing game. However, he does not take the top off often.

Ebron is an “F” in that he can be a slot receiver who goes deep over the middle of the field. Both are needed in the Matt Nagy offense, as Shaheen was slated to be their “F” last season.

You can see in the route trees below how Burton and Ebron can complement each other.

Both of the two have had injury questions, but mixing and matching and working the two off of each other may help relieve the stress on both. Ending his year early to get ready for a healthy 2020 should help him get off to a hot start. It may be the perfect fit and one that opens up a lot of layers to the Bears offense.


As mentioned, Ebron fans are living off of one season and a first-round pedigree. Beyond that is six years of being average or below average. His 14 touchdowns in six other years match the 14 touchdowns he caught in 2018. That 2018 season looks more like the outlier than all of his disappointment.

Even in that breakout year, he played in just 712 snaps. That is just a 56% snap share. He is a complementary piece. As mentioned, using him and Burton together can minimize the risk of wear and tear on both of them.

Still, even Burton played 860 snaps in 2018. Ebron never hit that many snaps in a year in his career. Fans in Chicago are disappointed in the health of Burton, now they want to sign a player has shown even less durability?

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Even if they do mix and match the usage of Burton and Ebron and get 700 snaps out of both, that still is an impressive feat if both stay healthy. All the Bears would be doing in signing Ebron is having two potentially overpaid injury risks at the tight end position.