The Bears agreed to a 1-year deal with free agent tight end Michael Gaines on Monday. Gaines played three years with Carolina, and one each with Buffalo and Detroit. He’s started 41 games in his career and has appeared in a total of 73.
Gaines instantly upgrades the blocking at the position, an area at which neither Desmond Clark nor Greg Olsen are particularly good. Gaines can also be used as a fullback, which may come in handy on short-yardage situations this season. Bears fans — myself included — were particularly critical of offensive coordinator Ron Turner’s play-calling on third- and fourth-and-short last year, but those plays could improve with Gaines lead-blocking for Forte in those situations.
The New York Jets were the other team interested in Gaines, but the tight end chose Chicago because of its tradition and the team’s plan for him.
“The Bears had a plan for me. You can’t beat that when people have a goal and a plan mapped out for you at your position. The Jets made sense. But like I said, the Bears had a plan for me and there was just something about Chicago.”
With the addition of Gaines, last year’s rookie tight end, Kellen Davis, could be on the outside looking in.
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