Among the (many) areas of needed additions for the Bears, finding some tight end depth is right up there. And although he’s not the kind of significant pass-catching threat Mike Glennon might need, the Bears are adding a solid one:
Bears are closing in on an agreement with TE Dion Sims, source says. Dolphins had wanted to retain him and Bears checked with other FA TEs.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2017
Sims, 26, is more of a blocking/in-line tight end (though he will make a catch or two – 26 receptions, 4 TDs, and 256 yards in 2016), whose addition could allow the Bears to more easily use a more passing-game-oriented target (Zach Miller and/or a draft target) out wide more often. Sims is generally considered a good blocking tight end.
Miller, you should note, is going to turn 33 next season, and finished last year on IR with a broken foot. Adding depth for that reason, if no other, is wise.
A little on-the-fly research into the Dolphins’ plans for Sims going forward, if they’d been able to retain him, suggests they were going to incorporate him more in the passing game, as he continued to develop on that front. Perhaps the Bears saw something in that respect, and maybe he will, in fact, be used more often as a receiving threat. [SEE UPDATE BELOW]
As Dan Durkin points out, a Sims addition would not preclude the Bears from going after an impact tight end in an unusually deep draft:
Dion Sims has been primarily used as a 'Y' but has some receiving skills. If true, shouldn't prevent #Bears from drafting from deep TE group
— dan durkin (@djdurkin) March 9, 2017
In a thin tight end market in free agency, Sims was rated by PFR as the sixth best available.
UPDATE: Here’s the deal on Sims, and I’d agree with Garafolo:
Deal for new Bears TE Dion Sims: three years, $18m with $10m in guarantees, source says. More than just blocking TE money.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 10, 2017
For comparison, Jack Doyle received $18.9M over three years in his new deal with the Colts, but only $7.5M guaranteed.