By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Ever since moving on from Martellus Bennett, the Bears have endured turnover at tight end.
Their movement at the position in 2016 featured Daniel Brown, Ben Braunecker, Justin Perillo and MyCole Pruitt alongside starter Zach Miller, hoping to fill a void in their offense. When Miller suffered a season-ending injury last November, Brown emerged, but a void still remained.
The Bears are hoping that Dion Sims can add multiple elements to their offense after signing him to a three-year deal on the first day of free agency.
“He’s good in space,” general manager Ryan Pace said of Sims. “He’s got good ability to sustain his blocks. He’s just a well-rounded player. Sometimes, you look at these Ys and they’re one or the other — they’re a good blocker that struggles as a receiver or vice-versa. I think he can do both, and think sometimes that’s hard to find right now. He’s a well-rounded solid player.”
Added Sims: “I just felt like I was wanted here. I feel like it was a great opportunity, a fresh start.”
Sims, 26, comes to the Bears after playing the No. 2 role in Miami. He arrives in Chicago with familiarity of the Bears’ schemes after playing a part in Adam Gase’s offense last season. That should translate well to offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains’ system.
In Sims, the Bears have added a 6-foot-4, 271-pound player who can make an impact as a target and a blocker.
He prides himself on that versatility.
“Just being an all-around guy, helping as much as I can and just using all my skills and bringing all that to the table,” Sims said.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meetings this week, Gase remarked that he was disappointed to have lost Sims but understood his desire to find a better role, which is available in Chicago.
Last season, Sims hauled in a career-best 26 receptions and four touchdowns in 14 games for the Dolphins. He was pressed into a starting role at times, but that as lost with Miami acquiring Julius Thomas from Jacksonville in February.
The Bears return Miller and Brown from their key roles in 2016. They should also have interest in finding a tight end in April’s draft. In fact, Chicago is reportedly set to host Alabama’s O.J. Howard for a visit later this week.
Sims believes he can continue to grow in the NFL. He’s still young and has the right opportunity in place with the Bears.
“Absolutely, there’s definitely room for improvement,” Sims said. “I’m going to continue to get better every year.”
Sims joins a Bears offense with many new faces, most notably new starting quarterback Mike Glennon, who was signed on the same day.
Eager for his chance with the Bears, Sims is embracing his opportunity to be a target for Glennon and this revamped offense.
“He’s excited and ready to go from what I hear from everybody else,” Sims said. “It will be exciting to go to battle for him.”