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Report: Colts to Sign Ex-Bears Tight End Trey Burton to the Veteran Minimum

Chicago Bears v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

According to his representation, the Indianapolis Colts will be signing former Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton to a 1-year contract—which NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo has confirmed is for the veteran minimum:

Having been signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2014, the 6’2”, 238 pound tight end had a breakout season in 2017 with the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles under their offensive coordinator Frank Reich—catching 5 touchdowns.

He was rewarded with a 4-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears the following offseason.

Burton had a solid debut season in the Windy City during 2018, catching 54 receptions for 569 receiving yards (10.5 ypr. avg.) and 6 touchdown receptions in all 16 starts. However, he was limited with a groin injury late in the year—missing the team’s playoff game.

That groin injury lingered into 2019, as Burton caught just 14 receptions for 84 receiving yards (6.0 ypr. avg.) in 8 games (5 starts) before being shut down for the season. It’s worth noting that Burton reportedly underwent hip surgery in December as well.

The Bears released Burton less than a week ago—and still owe him $4M, which his new minimum contract with the Colts this season will be deducted from.

Burton reunites with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who should already have great familiarity with the tight end. In turn, Burton should have a leg up on learning at least some of Reich’s offensive system and scheme from their time together in Philadelphia.

The Colts were in need of a reliable veteran receiving tight end behind Pro Bowler Jack Doyle, as fellow Pro Bowler Eric Ebron departed in free agency to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

If fully healthy, Burton has soft hands and nice athleticism for the tight end position to be a reliable veteran receiving TE2—if not more.

He’s only 28 years old too, so a rebound season could certainly be possible with the Colts in Reich’s offense that prominently features two tight end sets—and with a starting quarterback Philip Rivers who loves throwing to them (See: Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry).

It allows the Colts to potentially save a draft pick in this week’s NFL Draft, in what projects to be a weak tight end class anyways—at least at the top. If nothing else, Burton provides veteran insurance for the Colts at tight end as a low risk signing.

The pairing made too much sense not to happen.