Many fans have been calling for the Chicago Bears to sign Eric Ebron this offseason. The Bears are down on tight ends, and the position as a whole has had trouble scoring touchdowns. Eric Ebron is a tight end who scores touchdowns. It seems like a perfect fit, but is it?
Ebron had his breakout season in 2018. He caught 66 passes for 750 yards (11.4 avg) and 13 touchdowns, which was by far his best professional campaign. He averages 47 catches a year and his touchdown numbers aren’t impressive when you take 2018 out of the equation — 1, 1, 3, 4, and 5 are Ebron’s touchdown numbers in every season besides 2018. Talent has never been Ebron’s issue, but production and availably have.
Ebron can be used in a variety of ways. He can work from a three-point stance, split out, in the slot, on the outside, etc. When looking at his tape with the Colts, you’ll notice that Jack Doyle predominantly started at ‘move’ tight end. Ebron was used as a traditional tight end, or he would split out a few yards but still be on the line of scrimmage. Doyle did a lot of motioning for them. Even though his touchdown numbers aren’t as consistent as you would like them to be, his 2018 campaign showed how much of a red-zone threat he can be. Even if he isn’t getting all of the stats, opposing defenses have to account for him.
Unfortunately, Eric Ebron seemingly battles nagging injuries every year. Last year, he was put on IR after week 12 and had surgery on both of his ankles this offseason. If you’re a fantasy football player and have had Ebron on your roster, you’ve noticed that he is no stranger to the questionable tag. He has missed time in four out of his six seasons since entering the league. The Bears were forced to play waiver-wire pickups and undrafted free agents in 2019 because of the injury issues at the position. The idea of paying big money to another tight end that isn’t on the field is nauseating.
The most important thing to note is that Ebron will hit the open market. When Frank Reich was asked about re-signing Ebron he said, “We’ll probably move on.” Short and sweet. Eric Ebron has also made it known he will be looking for the Brinks truck to back into his driveway. His market value is at $7.4 million, ranking third-highest among the position. If Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry return to their previous teams, then Ebron will be the most coveted UFA tight end this offseason. His price tag could go up much higher than his market value. In my opinion, this takes the Bears out of the running.
While Eric Ebron would be an upgrade at the position, it would come at far to high a cost. The Bears cannot afford to give another top contract to a tight end with any injury concerns. If he were to come at the right price, it’s a no-brainer. He is extremely versatile and serves as a huge red-zone threat. There is really only one scenario that could bring Ebron to the Bears. Something would need to diminish his market value, like surgery concerns or other top tight ends hitting free agency. Even then, he would have to take a one-year deal with a team that badly needs tight end production.