11 tight ends Chicago Bears may sign in NFL free agency 2023

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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Irv Smith, Chicago Bears
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

6. Irv Smith is an upside bet for the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears like signing young players in free agency with a shot to get some upside out of the signing. There will not be many free agents younger than Irv Smith this offseason. He will be just 25 years old next season, so whichever team signs him could be getting the best of Smith.

Still, he stalled out during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. After 684 snaps as a rookie, he never played that many snaps again. He played 545 snaps the following year and missed all of his third seasons with an injury.

He recovered, but he eventually lost his job to T.J. Hockenson and played just 289 snaps. On one hand, he could be trending into the bust territory.

On the other, his third year was a wash because of the injury, and his fourth season was getting back from the injury. So, he is in year five, he is fully healthy, and he is still really young. There is more upside with Irv Smith than any other tight end.

The one thing to note about Smith is that he is more of the receiver than the others. He only spent 43% of his snaps blocking and has just 658 NFL blocking reps.

Do the Chicago Bears want a proven blocker or a young player with passing game upside? That will determine their interest in Irv Smith.