In a slew of signing announcements Friday morning, the Chicago Bears added Jake Butt to the tight end room in addition to finalizing DL Mike Pennel’s deal and bringing on OL Tyrone Wheatley Jr. In corresponding moves, the Bears released undrafted free agents DL Thomas Schaffer and OL Gunnar Vogel.
Butt’s NFL Journey
Jake Butt was a standout tight end at Michigan, where he averaged over 11.5 yards per catch during his college career. The Denver Broncos originally selected Butt in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was projected to come off the board in the second round, but a lingering ACL injury from his senior year in Ann Arbor tanked his draft stock. That injury eventually forced Butt to sit out the entire 2017 season.
When training camp rolled around in 2018, Butt was the second tight end on Denver’s depth chart. He played three games to open the 2018 campaign before tearing his ACL again on September 27, which caused him to miss the remainder of that season and all of 2019. After another lengthy recovery, Butt played in five games in 2020 before landing on injured reserve in late November due to a hamstring injury. He was activated December 31, but the Broncos let his contract expire.
While the Bears have solid depth at the tight end position in Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet, Butt is a swing-for-the-fences type of signing due to his high ceiling if he can stay healthy.