Updating Chicago Bears tight end depth chart with James O’Shaughnessy

Chicago Bears - Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears signed James O’Shaughnessy in a move that should preclude the team from drafting a tight end in the 2022 NFL draft. They now officially have four tight ends, all of them having played NFL snaps.

The team will likely sign two more players to the 90-man roster, but those would be in the form of a UDFA or lower-end player signing to get training camp repetitions. With the room about the set, how would the depth chart look with James O’Shaughnessy in the mix?

Chicago Bears tight end depth chart

1. Cole Kmet

This one should still be fairly obvious. While we do not know how much the coaching staff is invested in Cole Kmet, we do know that his age and the cost of his rookie salary are too hard to move on from without seeing everything that he can bring to the table. Recent signings will not hurt him.

2. Ryan Griffin 

The idea on paper would be that Griffin is more reliable than what they had in Jesper Horsted to be a tight end two as a blocker. If Griffin helps more as a blocker the team will have a strong understanding of what Kmet brings as a pass-catcher.

3. James O’Shaughnessy

James O’Shaughnessy is not a big name, but he is an NFL player with over 2,000 career snaps in his career. Injury hurt his case in 2021, but he walked away with 286 snaps. The fact that the team went out and signed him before the draft ensures that they want him in the mix, and they have plans for a tight end three to have a role in the offense of some sort.

4. Jesper Horsted 

Fans were hoping that a new coaching staff would be the move that unlocks Jesper Horsted. However, that is starting to seem unlikely. Yes, the new front office brought back Horsted, but it was a no-brainer. They had control over him via an ERFA, and per the NFL “If his original team offers him a one-year contract at the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), the player cannot negotiate with other teams.” Why would the Bears not offer him a one-year minimum salary to keep him?

Next. Who are locks to be picked in the top 38?. dark

They have four tight ends, or Horsted is likely to make the roster as the fourth. Still, practice squad looms, and the team signed two tight ends with over 6,000 combined career snaps shows that Horsted will really have to earn playing time. More than that, he will have to do it as a blocker, unless he just wants to be a fourth tight end who is used situationally.