Just as they had done by signing Frank Omiyale in the opening hours of free agency last off-season, the Bears recognized a need and struck quickly at the start of free agency this year.
The Bears agreed to terms with tight end Brandon Manumaleuna early Friday morning. Manumaleuna played for new offense coordinator Mike Martz in St. Louis and is a much better blocker than Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark or Kellen Davis, the three tight ends the Bears carried on the roster last year.
When Martz was hired, he explained that the first thing tight ends needed to do in his offense is put their hand in the dirt and block. Olsen’s top skill is catching the ball and he’s not a very good blocker considering his thin frame. That led to speculation this week that the Bears would pursue Manumaleuna and that move came to fruition shortly after the free agency period opened.
Manumaleuna is visiting Chicago today to sign his contract but won’t be the only free agent in town. Defensive end Julius Peppers and running back Chester Taylor are both supposed to visit Halas Hall on Friday and there’s a good chance that one or both could join Manumaleuna on the team.