How Ryan Griffin impacts Chicago Bears tight end depth chart

Chicago Bears - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears signing tight end Ryan Griffin was not the most notable news of the offseason, but it did stand out in a variety of ways. The first is that Griffin is the first player over the age of 30 that Ryan Poles has signed.

Poles has stuck to signing players who are much younger and betting on upside, but Griffin is 31 and has been in the NFL since 2013. He is pretty well established.

The other notable fact about Ryan Griffin is that he has typically been getting starter snaps in recent years. In three of the past four years, Griffin has played over 500 snaps and started in 10 games or more.

This is worth bringing up considering the Chicago Bears have Cole Kmet and Jesper Horsted. Griffin is not going to be a player who can demand and sit out until he finds the perfect spot, but you still have to think that the thought that he will be able to get playing time in Chicago had to be brought up considering how many starters snaps he has played recently.

When you break down the Chicago Bears’ depth you can probably put Griffin firmly between Jesper Horsted and Cole Kmet. Kmet is still the starter and is young enough that the new regime would be crazy not to give him a chance.

Still, considering Griffin is so experienced, and Horsted is from the past regime, it is hard to make the case for Horsted over Griffin unless Horsted really blows it away in training camp.

Fans love to get excited about Horsted, but he has 10 career receptions and a few preseason highlights. Griffing has eight years of work and 200 career receptions.

The Chicago Bears did keep Horsted, but it was a no-brainer. As an ERFA, the Bears had to offer Horsted a minimum-salary deal, and a team would then have to trade and beat that deal to sign him away. No team is doing that for a guy with 10 catches.

It was easy to keep him around, and his salary reflects a third tight end. Fans may be mad, but this is the front office saying this with money. They gave Griffin a contract that shows that on two-tight end sets, he will be on the field.

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He is a reliable catcher and a trusted blocker. He does not have a couple of highlight catches like Horsted, but it is clear that the team would favor Griffin over Horsted entering training camp.

With three tight ends locked onto the roster, it would be a surprise to see another tight end drafted. Look for two or three UDFA players to come in and push for a spot, but the 53-man roster may be set with these three tight ends.