Chicago Sun-Times

Source: Tight end Michael Gaines to visit Bears on Monday

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Michael Gaines, the tight end who was cut loose last week by the Detroit Lions, will visit the Bears on Monday, according to a league source.

Gaines was released after Detroit drafted Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew in the first round and then took Maryland's Dan Gronkowski in round seven. He visited the New York Jets on Wednesday and left without receiving a contract offer.

Gaines started six games last season in Detroit, his only season with the Lions. As one of the final additions of the Matt Millen regime, Gaines signed a $10 million, four-year contract in March 2008 of which reportedly $3 million was guaranteed. It's unlikely the Bears would offer anything close to that.

The Bears can get a scouting report on Gaines from former Lions coach Rod Marinelli. We broke down why the Bears might be seeking a blocking tight end earlier today.

The Bears have four tight ends on their roster and typically take five to training camp. Gaines would be more than a camp body though. He's considered a good in-line blocker and the Bears could be seeking someone to push Kellen Davis who is heading into his second year after making a nominal impact as a rookie. Gaines, who is 6-4, 277 pounds, also has some receiving skills. Stay tuned.

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What have you got to lose only more to Gaines.

Blocking Tight End may be the ticket as short yardage situations are pretty pathetic with the lack of conversions on 3rd and 4th down short yardage situations. We all know the 1 yard plunge that seems to never make 1 yard.

It is also pretty pathetic that play selection couldn't be a little more creative in those situations as well.

Here is to a new and improved short yardage conversion ability by the Bears.

Brad, does Gaines do special teams and if so is he special in that area as well?

Please sign him, where playing Blitzburg and the Raven and we need that good blocking to keep Cutler standing up.

I read in another article that Lovie is thinking about using him as a full back as well. I think this may be a good pickup, but with that said.....I would hate to lose the 6'-7" Kellen Davis. The guy is fairly quick with good hands (oh and did I mention 6'-7"). We'll see how it plays out, but I like the fact that we have this option available.

I think it's pretty clear that we are only going to carry one fullback on the roster this year and I assume that's McKie. You can carry 4 TEs on a 53 roster, provided they are special teams contributors. I wouldn't be shocked if the Bears only had 2 QBs on the 53 this year and carried one on the Practice Squad.

I find this interesting beyond the question of who might be the 3rd tight end.

It seems to me that the Bears try to draft two distinct kinds of players. (ignore the first round where the goal is to get it all)

1)Gamers. Good college football players. Don't worry too much about the measureables, the game tapes don't lie. Forte, Steltz, Bennett. These guys know how to play, but you just don't know if they can adapt to the speed and power of the next level.

2)Elite athletes. These players have a wealth of natural talent, but usually have limited amounts of game tape. However, the game tape they have is usually very impressive. Often they have been tried at multiple positions in college. They are prospects that the team hopes can be given superior coaching and taught to be professional football players. Danieal Manning, Hester, Gilbert, Bauzuin, Bowman, Melton, Louis. These guys have a steeper learning curve, but if they learn the game and develop into good players, your team has more talent than the competition.

A classic example of the two kinds of players is in 2003 when the Bears took Bobby Wade and Justin Gage in the fifth round. Wade was a really good college gamer, and Gage was an extremely talented two-sport athlete.

OK I said all that to say this:

This year's draft is really long on the second category of players. The organization is clearly relying on the coaching staff to teach the game to enough of these guys to matter. Kellen Davis is a poster child from last year of the type player drafted this year. Now we find that they are not happy with development.

Maybe this is not a big deal. We are talking 3rd string tight end. By the numbers Davis, as a fifth rounder, had a 10-20% chance of developing into a starting player. You got to know when to hold em/fold em.

On the other hand it could mean that the Bears don't have the coaching staff, and organizational patience, to implement their draft strategy for this year. That would be a big deal.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 7, 2009 4:59 PM.

How do the Bears stack up so far this offseason? was the previous entry in this blog.

Dollars and sense: Here is why the Bears like to sign draft picks early is the next entry in this blog.

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