Will Chicago Bears spend green to improve their red zone chances?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Tyler Eifert
CINCINNATI, OH – SEPTEMBER 15: Kwon Alexander #56 of the San Francisco 49ers tackles Tyler Eifert #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 41-17. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

What’s within reason for the Bears in the free agency?

Let’s say the Bears elect to attack other positions and free up $13.22 million by letting Leonard Floyd walk, and go after a tight end in the free agency. Who makes sense at that point?

The first name that absolutely comes to mind is Tyler Eifert, the Bengals’ 2013 first-round pick. There’s a devil and an angel on a shoulder each with Eifert. On one hand, he’s of similar ilk to Shaheen and Burton as far as injuries go. His season-to-season games played — 15 games in 2013, 1 game in 2014, and then 13, 8, 2, 4 and 16 — is as up-and-down as one of those “Good Rex, Bad Rex Grossman” charts from 2006.

But… he’s coming off the first 16-game season of his career and is at least somewhat familiar with new Bears coordinator Bill Lazor’s philosophy. That injury history could lead to a quiet market for his services.

Injuries have sapped some of his speed, but he fills a much-needed gap as both a “Y” tight end for blocking (an always underrated trait of his), who also just so happened to lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns among tight ends just four seasons ago. If health permitted, he likely could’ve built on this under Lazor. A chance to do so this year could be for the taking.

A few other top tight ends can be written off by process of elimination. Greg Olsen reportedly wanted a call from Chicago that never came, and as ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson brought out, Austin Hooper or Hunter Henry would be fun, but will the Bears have deep enough pockets for this, if tight end isn’t atop their list?

The Bears are mostly hamstrung due to Burton’s contract. Ironically enough, Burton and his fellow tight ends were injured almost everywhere but their hamstrings last year. There’s probably some rule among the football gods that prevents health as poor as these two seasons in a row, but if you’re the Bears, you’d much rather be safe than sorry.

Some would say there are bigger fish to fry. After all, the Bears were a bottom-five team in both average yards per drive (27.8), points per drive (1.54), and punted on 46.8 percent of their drives. Maybe Point A (getting downfield) should be the focus before Point C (scoring).

Here’s the counter: per Sportradar, the Bears didn’t have a single offensive touchdown of over 40+ yards. So, if a methodical, risk-averse offense is the way to go, they’ve got to be at their best when the field shortens.

Next. Allen Robinson advanced stats review. dark

You could make the case that red zone troubles cost the Bears at least three games — the difference between 8-8 and a potential home postseason game at 11-5. And acquiring ball-hunting tight ends could become one of many solutions towards getting the Bears back into the end zone, as well as the end game.