With recent additions, Chicago Bears might actually have an explosive passing game in 2024

TE Gerald Everett on Bears’ weapons: ‘Loaded with talent’

Former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett makes a catch prior to a game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. The Chicago Bears and former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Gerald Everett have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract that guarantees $6.1 million, a person familiar with the situation said Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

LAKE FOREST – No matter who the Bears’ starting quarterback is in 2024, he will have weapons to throw the ball to.

The Bears have been busy adding playmakers to their offense this week. Early in the week, they signed running back D’Andre Swift and tight end Gerald Everett in free agency. Late Thursday, they traded for six-time Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen.

Add those guys to a roster that already included receiver DJ Moore, tight end Cole Kmet and running back Khalil Herbert. The Bears, who finished with the 27th-ranked passing attack in football in 2023, might actually have some semblance of an explosive passing game in 2024.

That still hinges, of course, on two things: the quarterback and the offensive coordinator.

There has been no news this week regarding quarterback Justin Fields. As of now, he remains a member of the Bears.

The Bears hold the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft and can, if they so choose, select USC quarterback Caleb Williams. The 2022 Heisman Trophy winner is the odds-on favorite to be the first player selected in the draft. If the Bears are going to select Williams (or any other quarterback), it seems likely they could trade Fields. Poles openly talked about it at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.

No matter what, Poles is trying to set up his quarterback – whoever that may be – for success in 2024. His recent additions make that clear.

Adding one of the most consistent receivers of the past decade in Allen shows that Poles believes the Bears’ window is now. Allen, who will be 32 next season, has only one year remaining on his current contract. The Bears could extend his contract, and that might make sense for various reasons, but as of now he’s only under their control for 2024. That isn’t a move a GM makes unless he believes the window to compete is now.

Everett, the new tight end, and new linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga both played with Allen last year on the Chargers. Ogbongbemiga certainly doesn’t see a washed up old-timer in Allen.

“Dog. All day,” Ogbongbemiga said Friday at Halas Hall. “Got it every day. From Day 1 of training camp to Week 15 or whenever he stopped practicing [last season]. He gave it his all, and I’m looking at myself like, ‘This dude still got it.’ He’s got a lot of years in the tank. That’s what people don’t understand. They might look at his age and question him but, nah, he’s got the juice.”

Allen caught 108 passes for 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns while playing in only 13 games last season. The Bears are banking on him picking up where he left off.

As for the coordinator, Everett has a long history with first-year Bears coordinator Shane Waldron. When the Rams drafted Everett in 2017, Waldron was his tight ends coached. Everett watched Waldron ascend to Rams passing game coordinator, then followed him to Seattle in 2021 when the Seahawks made Waldron their OC.

“I got a good sense of him,” Everett said. “He’s like a machine. He’s like a computer almost, just the way he processes information and the way he relays it to us as players. I couldn’t say enough about Shane. Obviously, coming to Chicago, he’s a big reason for that.”

[Shane Waldron] is like a machine. He’s like a computer almost, just the way he processes information and the way he relays it to us as players.”

—  Gerald Everett, Bears tight end

In Seattle, Waldron used multiple tight ends as well as any coordinator in the league. The Seahawks had three tight ends catch 15 passes or more in each of the past two seasons. The Bears haven’t had two tight ends do that since 2021. It makes sense that Everett would want to follow Waldron to Chicago.

Everett said the thing that makes Waldron a good play caller is his “unpredictability.”

“He’s really just done great things with the pieces that he’s had,” Everett said. “When we had Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and those surrounding cast in L.A., it was good to see what he did with that. In Seattle, you implement DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Russell Wilson, etc., etc., and it’s just standing back watching how he does things. I’m excited to see what he does here.”

What does Everett see with this group in Chicago?

“Loaded with talent,” Everett said.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.