The one-year deal is worth $656,000 and allows Gilmore to become an unrestricted free agent following the ’05 campaign. He joins Bobby Gray and Steve Edwards in signing their tender offers. Guard Terrence Metcalf and TE John Owens are the remaining two restricted free agents to sign their one-year deals.
The fourth-year tight end has played in 39 career games with six starts for Chicago since being claimed off waivers from New Orleans following the 2002 training camp. A sixth-round selection (196th overall) in 2002 out of Penn State, Gilmore played in a career-high 16 games, starting one, in 2004 and has become one of Chicago’s top special teams players ranking third on the Bears with a career-best 15 special teams tackles.
Unless the Bears add a tight end through the draft, Gilmore is expected to compete with Dustin Lyman for the backup role to starter Desmond Clark. The 6-foot-4, 262-pounder started four games in his rookie season and caught 10 passes for 130 yards. For his career he has registered 11 receptions for 141 yards and has 18 special teams tackles.