The Wheaton-Warrenville South product has felt better this offseason than he has in a long time and the Bears decided to give him a shot.
Article by Brad Biggs – Reporter – Chicago Tribune – June 16, 2016 http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-bears-sign-tony-moeaki-20160616-story.html
The Bears devoted considerable time looking for tight end options after Zach Miller and added another option Thursday when local product Tony Moeaki was signed to a one-year contract.
Moeaki, whose career got off to a fast start with the Chiefs after they drafted him in the third round in 2010, has battled knee issues the last several years. But the Wheaton-Warrenville South product has felt better this offseason than he has in a long time and the Bears decided to give him a shot after bringing him in for a tryout last week and then looking at him further during this week’s minicamp.According to a source, the Bears are also expected to sign defensive lineman Marquis Jackson, the twin brother of Malik Jackson, who signed an $85.5 million, six-year contract with the Jaguars in free agency after the Bears showed interest. Marquis Jackson has not appeared in an NFL game. He did spent time with the Vikings and has played in the Arena League.
Moeaki, 29 becomes the seventh tight end on the 90-man roster and the depth chart behind Miller, who was rewarded with a $5.5 million, two-year contract, is wide open.
Moeaki, who grew up a Bears fan, was encouraged after his workout at Halas Hall last week and then was asked to return for what turned into a two-day minicamp after coach John Fox scrapped Thursday’s scheduled practice. Earlier in the offseason, Moeaki had a tryout for the Lions.
“I felt good out here and was really comfortable with the playbook,” said Moeaki, who has lived downtown in the offseason since entering the NFL. “It worked out well.”
How the depth chart will shake out remains an intriguing storyline for training camp. Veteran Rob Housler joined the team last December. He sat out minicamp with an undisclosed injury. Khari Lee is entering his second season after the Bears acquired him in a trade at final cuts a year ago. Gannon Sinclair is entering his second season and was the only player to stay on the practice squad for the entire 2015 season. Harvard’s Ben Braunecker received the largest signing bonus of any un-drafted rookie and Greg Scruggs was converted from the defensive line early in the offseason program.
“We have a good group of guys,” Moeaki said. “We’re going to work hard in training camp and we’re going to make each other better. I had some looks from other teams but this couldn’t have worked out any better. It’s a great feeling.”
Moeaki has more experience than all of the options combined with the exception of Housler. Moeaki appeared in 11 games last season for the Falcons and had a 42-yard touchdown reception. He had 47 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie for the Chiefs before suffering a torn ACL and missing the 2011 season.
“I have been moving around well all offseason,” Moeaki said. “This couldn’t have worked out any better.” The Bears’ roster was at 89 so a corresponding roster move was not needed to add Moeaki.