The Monsters of the Midway made a very interesting addition to their roster Monday, signing former Detroit Lions tight end Michael Gaines.
Originally a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in the 2004 NFL Draft, Gaines spent three seasons in Carolina before setting a career high with 25 receptions in '07 as a Buffalo Bill. The 6-4, 277-pounder then played just a year in the Motor City, catching 23 passes for a career-best 260 yards and one touchdown. The former Central Florida Knight has proven to be durable during his five-year career in the league, suiting up for 73 of 80 games in the regular season and 47 of the last 48 since 2006.
While he has only reeled in 79 balls in those 73 games, Gaines is known much more for his blocking ability than his receiving skills and has a chance to make the team as a short-yardage and goal-line specialist.
The signing of Gaines means it's time to speculate on the future of Kellen Davis, who was selected in Round 5 this past April and looked to have all kinds of promise during training camp and the preseason. Davis is a monster of a young man at 6-6.5 and 262 pounds, but he came to the Windy City with question marks about his in-line blocking skills and concerns over his work ethic. He was eventually benched as the third tight end in favor of tackle and fellow rookie Chris Williams in short-yardage and goal-line situations around midseason, restricted to special-teams duty the rest of 2008.
With a pair of dynamic pass-catching tight ends already at the top of the depth chart in veteran Desmond Clark and up-and-comer Greg Olsen, Gaines fits a specific role in Ron Turner's system and might make Davis expendable.
To participate in JC's INTERACTIVE chat Tuesday at noon Central time, where we'll cover the Gaines signing and so much more, CLICK HERE.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
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