Found August 03, 2013 on
The Bears brought seven-year veteran TE Leonard Pope in for a tryout on Friday. On Saturday they signed him to a one-year deal after he passed a physical.
The University of Georgia product likely will earn the veteran minimum of $725,000 which he earned a year ago with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pope stands at 6’8″ and should compete right away for the third tight end spot behind starters Martellus Bennett and Steve Maneri.
The Bears waived TE Brody Eldridge who was claimed off waivers from the St. Louis Rams last October.
Pope gives the Bears another solid red zone target. He will battle Fendi Onobun, Kyle Adams and Gabe Miller for the third tight end spot.
Onobun is a converted basketball player who has already played for six teams in three seasons. He has just two catches for 15 yards during that span. But the 6’6″ Houston product has flashed his skills in training camp and has a chance to make the roster. He should be even more motivated with Pope coming into town.
Adams latched on with the Bears after going undrafted out of Purdue in 2011. He has reeled in four catches for 40 yards in two seasons. If he can’t win the third tight end spot, he has a chance to stick around as an H-back if the Bears opt to go without a true fullback.
Miller was signed to the practice squad last September after spending his rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was suspended four games this season for taking performance enhancing substances. He should be considered a longshot to make the team.
Adding Pope makes too much sense for the Bears considering the lack of experience that was behind Martellus Bennett. Pope is a solid insurance policy. He was arguably the best remaining tight end on the market.
Even though he hasn’t much of an impact in the receiving game as of late he has always been a solid blocker. In 103 career games, he has made 51 starts reeling in 105 catches for 982 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He played for the Cardinals (2006-2008), then went to the Chiefs (2009-2011) and most recently the Steelers (2012). He added two touchdown receptions for the Steelers last season.
This a move that will certainly go under the radar. The Bears needed another experienced tight end and they certainly got one in Leonard Pope. He should be able to win the No. 3 tight end spot rather easily.
Thoughts on the addition of Pope?
Jake Perper is the founder and head writer of Bearsbacker.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Bearsbacker and on Facebook for up to the minute news about the Chicago Bears.
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