A league source said Tuesday there is still talk that tight end Greg Olsen is available. Olsen trade talks heated up at the owners meetings in March, and the team thought there was a deal to be made with New England on draft day, only to see them grab a tight end in the second round and come back the next day for another in the fourth round.
Since then, there has been nothing but tireless propaganda about the way Olsen fits into Mike Martz offense. Now, it seems possible that the struggles of 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams could lead to a trade of 2007 first-round pick Olsen because newly minted veteran tight end Brandon Manumaleuna has to play as an extra blocker. The problem remains the Bears' reluctance to trade Olsen for anything less than a second- to third-round pick despite his market value being roughly a fifth-round pick. The situation is complicated by Cutler's friendship with Olsen, who has received favored-receiver status with the quarterback.
It doesn't sound like Olsen will get moved, because of the Bears asking price, but his value could go up if he were to land in the right situation -- as a starting TE in a system that involves TEs in the passing game.
One of the questions that has been asked since before the start camp was how the Bears would be able to keep four tight ends on the roster.
They started with four last year but cut Michael Gaines two months into the season. Now, they could do it and it might be possible with a new position.
The Bears released their first "unofficial" depth chart in advance of Saturday's preseason opener at San Diego and veteran tight end Desmond Clark is listed as an H-back. There is no fullback listed.
Clark has worked with the second team in practice as a tight end, but he could be used in an H-back role, a tight end/fullback hybrid, because he is versatile as a blocker and a receiver. The depth chart at tight end has Greg Olsen on top followed by free-agent pickup Brandon Manumaleuna, Kellen Davis and Richard Angulo.
On June 24, Bears TE Brandon Manumaleuna expects to be back on the field. The veteran, who was one of the prized additions in free agency, worked on the side during the two-hour practice as he rehabilitates his way back from arthroscopic knee surgery.
He elected to have surgery the week before the draft because was having it drained during the regular season. The belief is that he'll be free of that routine this coming season and it's better to handle an issue in April, May and June than at some point during the fall.
4for4 reports: Treat Chargers TE Antonio Gates (ankle
questionable) as a game time call. Surprisingly, Gates did little
to show he could play this week at practice. If he can't go, TE
Brandon Manumaleuna will. Bottom line- while we think he's better
than 50-50 to play, its not a lock.