In somewhat of a surprise, Dion Sims is still a member of the Chicago Bears.
Chicago had until 3 p.m. on Friday to decide whether to release Sims or keep him on the roster, which would mean $4 million of his $6 million base salary for the 2018 season would be guaranteed. Had the team decided to release Sims before Friday’s 3 p.m. deadline, it would have cleared up $5.67 million salary cap space.
Sims is in a better position to make the Bears’ Week 1 roster now than he was on Thursday when the team was introducing tight end Trey Burton as part of the unveiling of this year’s class of free agent signings. However, he isn’t out of the woods just yet. Chicago can still release Sims before June 1 and save $1.67 million against the cap. And if the team decides to do it afterward, the salary cap savings bumps up to $2 million.
If you want to ride the optimism train, you would likely be quick to point out that Sims might be the best blocking tight end on the Bears right now. Sims owned the fifth-highest pass-blocking grade among players at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. And while his run-blocking grade was among the lowest by PFF’s standards, he has long been regarded as one of the more skilled blocking tight ends in the league.
If you want to continue down that road, perhaps you’re intrigued by the idea of what a better-coached player can do in a different system. Sims didn’t show any of the pass-catching upside that was referenced when he signed in 2017. It’s possible his fortunes can change with a new position coach and an offense that’s more conducive to passing the ball.
Bears GM Ryan Pace expressed optimism in Sims’ future, giving him a public vote of confidence on Thursday when he told reporters he was “excited” to have the 27-year-old tight end in the fold. Pace cited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles as an example of a team that used three tight ends successfully. So perhaps Pace really meant it when he said he was excited to have Sims as part of the group.