The 2018 NFL league year is upon us and with that, the hustle and bustle that was the legal tampering period is over and teams can make their reported free agency signings official. With the dust settling from a few hectic days of reports, we at Pro Football Focus take an in depth look at some of free agency's biggest deals in our exclusive 2018 Free Agency Deal Grader.
Taken into our deal grades here are many contributing factors, including but not limited to scheme fit for the player signed, contract value and salary cap hit, PFF's overall grades for both player and team, and several other facets.
For more in depth insight all the league’s free agents, check out the 2018 PFF Free Agent Guide, a part of your PFF Edge or Elite subscription.
Trey Burton signs with the Chicago Bears
Contract details: 4-year, $32-million
What it means for Burton:
TE Trey Burton should now have an opportunity for a big increase in playing time with the Chicago Bears. Burton was a bit buried on the Eagles’ tight end depth chart and that was reflected in his snap count. Burton finished the 2017 season with a 75.6 overall grade on his 345 snaps. Burton is going to a Bears team with a new innovative offensive-minded head coach in Matt Nagy who likes to utilize tight ends heavily in the passing game. Now in 2018 with the Bears, Burton should have a chance to improve upon his grade with his uptick in playing time.
What it means for Chicago:
The Bears need to build around second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this offseason by not only improving their offensive line but also adding pass-catching weapons for him to target. The addition of a move tight end like Trey Burton to go along with second-year tight end Adam Shaheen will give Nagy some very intriguing options with two-tight-end personnel groupings. Burton was lined-up at tight end for 127 snaps, in the slot for 102 snaps, and out wide for 54 snaps in 2017. Burton’s 1.25 yards per route run from the slot in 2017 ranked 14th among all NFL tight ends, so Nagy will be able to move him around to different spots in his offense. The addition of Burton also likely rules out taking a tight end in the draft, which should allow the Bears to focus more on drafting a wide receiver.
We grade the deal as a “C” because it’s not without risk for the Bears. Burton is clearly a talented tight end but only 741 career snaps is a small sample size and doesn’t give true indication of the type of production the Bears can expect on a consistent basis. This deal could very well work out for both the Bears and Burton and exceed our initial grade if Burton does have does have an uptick in production with more playing time.