2017 Chicago Bears training camp preview: Tight Ends

Miller, Sims, Shaheen give Bears deep group of options at tight end to watch in camp

Last Updated:

This is the fourth of our position-by-position series previewing what to watch in Bears training camp this summer. The team reports to Bourbonnais July 26. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)

The Bears invested heavily in tight end this offseason, giving Dion Sims a three-year, $18 million contract and using a second-round pick on Adam Shaheen. Those two join Zach Miller, Daniel Brown, Ben Braunecker and MyCole Pruitt at what could be a pretty deep position for the 2017 Bears offense. Here are questions that need to be answered at tight end in training camp. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)

Is there a competition between Sims and Miller? — This could be one of the more intriguing position battles in camp. With Miller not ready to go during OTAs and minicamp because of his broken foot suffered last season, we couldn’t get a gauge on what the situation is for the Bears at their No. 1 tight end spot. Sims is being paid to be a starter, more money than Miller. But he has not been a pass-catching threat in his four NFL seasons — his 26 catches and four touchdowns last year were career-high marks. Miller had 47 catches for 486 yards and four scores in only 10 games last season. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)

But Miller turns 33 in October and Sims is only 26. If Sims excels as a receiver, and the Bears believe he has room to grow there, will there even be a roster spot for Miller, especially if Shaheen develops quickly? Or is Sims’ presence just reason for Dowell Loggains to employ more two-tight end sets, giving the Bears more options at pass catcher? Before becoming a household name in Chicago, Miller wowed observers in Bourbonnais. This could be a crucial training camp for one of the longest-tenured Bears as he competes for targets and playing time with Sims. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

How early can Shaheen be a factor? — Like fellow rookie Tarik Cohen, Shaheen stood out during OTAs and minicamp, if for nothing else than his eye-opening size at 6-6, 277 pounds. His production at Ashland University was outstanding … but it was Ashland. In training camp, he’ll be going up against a fully-padded NFL defense for the first time in his football career. How quickly can he acclimate? As a second-rounder, he’ll be expected to contribute soon. The pressure isn’t high because of the presence of Sims and Miller, but Shaheen could be quite the weapon for an offense that’s lacking in firepower, if he handles the NFL transition well. He could attract a lot of fanfare in training camp. (H. Rick Bamman - hbamman@shawmedia.com)

Can Brown and Braunecker carve out a role on the offense? — The Bears’ coaches were high on both players last year. Brown, a former receiver at 6-5, 243, had 16 catches for 124 yards and a score. Braunecker, an undrafted player out of Harvard, had only four catches. Both players were fixtures on special teams. Brown has more experience and the team sees upside in his ability to be a pass catcher. If Miller sticks with the roster, there may only be room for one of these two players, but their skill sets only add to the position, which includes Pruitt, a former Viking and Southern Illinois product who will also be competing for a roster spot. (Shaw Media)

Pro Football Weekly