With Mike Martz the new offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, tight end Greg Olsen has requested a trade, according to NBC Chicago. A further report from CSN New England indicates that the New England Patriots, along with the Arizona Cardinals, have interest in the 24-year-old.
The Chicago Sun-Times denied the report made by NBC Chicago, saying that the club is not “actively shopping Olsen.” However, the newspaper reports that the Bears would listen to any team’s offer.
The Patriots figure to be in the market for a tight end, as they are not expected to bring back Benjamin Watson. Dealing for a tight end is a distinct possibility, since the club has three second-round picks at its disposal with various holes to patch. Chicago’s first pick is in the fourth round — it sent away earlier picks to acquire quarterback Jay Cutler.
Olsen, the 31st overall pick in 2007, was a favorite target of Cutler, making 60 catches for eight touchdowns and serving as a Pro Bowl alternate. While it may not make sense for the Bears to trade someone of Olsen’s caliber, Martz’s offensive scheme is known for minimizing tight end production.
The only problem with the Patriots’ interest in Olsen is that the team does not generally use its tight end as a playmaker. In the Patriots’ offensive scheme, tight ends are often used to block, which is not a strong suit of Olsen’s.
As CSN New England’s Tom Curran notes, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is friends with Bears general manager Jerry Angelo. While it’s not necessary to be buddy-buddy to swing trades, former Patriots executive and current Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that “alliances are necessary” — so one begins to see the significance of a strong working relationship.
Olsen’s contract would undoubtedly appeal to the cost-conscious Patriots. While contract details are not freely available, in 2010, Olsen is reportedly due a scant $550,000. It rises to $650,000 in 2011.