Greg Olsen for a third-round pick. Didn’t make much sense did it?
Here’s a guy that was Jay Cutler’s top red-zone target last season (five TD catches), and was thought of as a weapon opposing defenses had to plan for—some said he was one of the 10 best tight ends in the game today.
So, why did Jerry Angelo and Company take a loss here? Why did they flip a former first-rounder—one of Angelo’s few first-round hits—for a measly third-round draft pick?
Because he didn’t fit the system, we deduct.
Yes, yes, we know, the offensive mastermind Mike Martz prefers his tight ends to be hulking hybrids of an offensive tackle—guys that can stay in the box as a sixth or seventh lineman to give the quarterback more time while he finds the soft spots in the defense.
That’s fine and all. Martz runs his system that way.
But it’s not fine when you’ve nary a consistent, explosive playmaker on offense. It’s not fine when your tight end is your most polished pass-catcher, or when he’s your quarterback’s best friend on the field and off it.
Let’s not pretend that Olsen was expendable. He wasn’t.
Sure, Earl Bennett looks headed for a breakout season, Johnny Knox almost hit the four-digit mark in receiving yards last season, just his second in the league, and Devin Hester remains a dynamic weapon, even if he isn’t a pure wideout.
But let’s not get carried away. These Bears are all big question marks, and the odds of them all reaching their potential this season are odds I wouldn’t take.
The bottom line is Angelo was forced into this trade last offseason when he hired Martz as his offensive coordinator.
That’s when the trade rumors began to rumble around Olsen—the Bears even had a deal in place to move Olsen to the New England Patriots for one of the Pats’ second-round picks prior to the 2010 NFL Draft before Bill Belichick decided to draft a tight end of their own with the pick (Rob Gronkowski).
And realize that Olsen, a free agent after this season, was looking for a lucrative extension the Bears probably were not willing to offer.
Maybe Olsen was a goner after this season anyway. Maybe Angelo got what he could for a guy he knew wouldn’t be around much longer.
Still, this trade is a loss, no matter the way you look at it. And it puts even more pressure on Angelo to draft an eventual starter with that third-round pick acquired.
And when Martz is a free agent himself next February (in April he turned down a one-year extension), and he either heads to the college ranks or gets a head coach gig again, will Angelo be pining for another pass-catching tight end for another new coordinator?
That wouldn’t make much sense.