By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Former Eagles TE Trey Burton shone brightest when his number was called on the biggest stage in football. By signing a free agent deal to become the starting tight end of the Chicago Bears, he’s looking to be his own star and step out from the shadows of Zach Ertz.
For the first four years of his NFL career, Trey Burton has largely been a special teams player and backup tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles. Sitting behind Eagles TEs Brent Celek and Zach Ertz, Burton showed flashes of greatness but was never a consistent part of the game plan. But he never complained, at least not publicly. He showed up, did what was asked, and made an impact when his number was called. In the two games that Ertz missed in 2017, Burton had 7 catches for 112 yards and 3 TDs. Over a full season, that’s low tier TE1 numbers, especially if the TDs hold.
Chicago must see Burton as a viable weapon at all levels of the field to think paying him $8 million a year is a sound investment. Players get overpaid in free agency every year, especially Super Bowl winning players. Is Burton one of those players? On the surface, absolutely. But when you look at his age (26) and athleticism (he not only caught TDs during the season, but threw one in the Super Bowl), you can understand the thought process.
The Bears main objective this offseason was to surround young QB Mitchell Trubisky with weapons. They brought in WRs Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel (more on him later) along with Burton to team with RBs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. New head coach Matt Nagy should have plenty of ideas on how to get the most out of them all, including Burton. Remember Travis Kelce? He is the starting tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Matt Nagy used to be his offensive coordinator. It’s safe to say Nagy will know how to take advantage of Burton’s skill set and get him into the open field to do damage and rack up yards and scores. And fantasy points for us.
Call me crazy, but I can see Burton sneaking into the TE1 conversation. When you look at last year’s top 10, I see four mainstays — Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, Evan Engram, and Rob Gronkowski (health permitting). That’s it. The other six spots are up for grabs and ever changing. We’ve seen Jordan Reed be a stud, but you know, injuries. Jimmy Graham? He just switched teams. Even with Aaron Rodgers, his athleticism isn’t what it was and he’s very touchdown reliant as a result. Delanie Walker? The dude will be 34 when the season starts. It’s fair to wonder how much longer he can remain a top tier TE. Same goes for Jason Witten. Jack Doyle? Cameron Brate? Both now have competition for yards and scores in the forms of Eric Ebron and O.J. Howard.
You can see my point. If Nagy can work the offense to help Burton shine, there’s no reason he can’t vault into the conversation. Remember the name. Trey Burton will be someone to watch in 2018.