Chicago Bears sign TE Hill to offer sheet
The Chicago Bears signed restricted free-agent tight end Josh Hill to an offer sheet Tuesday, giving his original team, the New Orleans Saints, five days to match the three-year contract.
The Bears last week traded tight end Martellus Bennett to the New England Patriots and are looking for more depth at the position despite re-signing two of their own unrestricted free agents, Zach Miller and Rob Housler.
The only other tight end on the 53-man roster is Khari Lee, who was an undrafted rookie last year. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Lee played in all 16 games last season and started seven games, when the Bears opened with multiple tight ends.
But he was almost exclusively used as an extra blocker. Six-foot-7 tight end Gannon Sinclair spent last season on the practice squad after signing as an undrafted rookie out of Missouri State.
Hill signed with the Saints in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of Idaho State. He has played in 46 games, including 13 starts and has 8 touchdown catches on just 36 receptions for 340 yards (9.4-yard average).
The 6-5, 250-pound Hill had his best season in 2014 when he had 5 TD receptions on just 14 catches and averaged 12.6 yards per catch. He had 16 catches last season for 120 yards (7.5-yard average) and 2 touchdowns.
With or without Hill, the Bears still need a tight end who can function as an extra offensive lineman, as the 6-6, 265-pound Bennett could. Hill is more of a receiver than a blocker, as are Miller and Housler.
• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.