The Bears got an early start on their offseason TE overhaul, agreeing to terms with sixth-year veteran Demetrius Harris after he was waived by the Cleveland Browns earlier this week, per NFL Media.
Harris (6-7. 230), who turns 29 in July, originally signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2013, spending his first four seasons with Bears coach Matt Nagy. Harris reunites with Nagy to bolster the NFL's least productive TE corps after catching 14 balls for 149 yards and three touchdowns in his lone season in Cleveland, where he signed a two-year, $6 million deal last March.
In six seasons, the former basketball player out of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has 72 catches for 754 yards and nine touchdowns, including three in each of his past two years.
Despite having one of the league's most expensive groups of tight ends — a critical position in Nagy's offense — the Bears didn't have a single one reach 100 yards or score multiple touchdowns last season. After being named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2018 in his first season with the Bears, Trey Burton was limited to 283 snaps in eight games. He eventually landed on season-ending injured reserve with a hip issue that required offseason surgery. Burton underwent sports hernia surgery last offseason but is expected back for the third season of a four-year, $32 million contract.
Harris can pair with Burton to play the "Y" position where former DII Ashland product Adam Shaheen hasn't developed after being the 45th overall pick in 2017. He brings much-needed athleticism and durability in addition to starting experience in Nagy's offense. His signing won't count against the compensatory draft formula next year and provides the Bears a bit of flexibility entering an offseason in which they're expected to be near the bottom of the league in cap space and are currently slated to make only two selections in the top 100 of the draft.