When Mike Martz became the last-ditch candidate to take over the offense in Chicago, speculation immediately centered on tight end Greg Olsen being on the way out. The talk came from the reality that the Martz system doesn’t devote many passes to the tight end position; thus, a guy with Olsen’s pass-catching talents would be wasted.
The possibility of Olsen leaving seemed to assume legitimacy when the Bears overpaid blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, who caught five passes in 2009, on the first day of free agency.
For his part, Olsen wants to stay put. He said so recently on his Twitter page. “So far I have a
great feeling about my role this year,” Olsen said. “I have no desire to play anywhere
but in Chicago. That was purely media speculation.” (Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune spotted this one on Friday.)
Olsen also said he would put his blocking up against any other pass-catching tight end. The fact that he’d raise this point suggests that he knows he’ll be doing plenty of blocking under Martz, and not as much pass-catching as the 2007 first-rounder would like.
And that’s the key here. It’s not whether Olsen can block. It’s whether it makes sense to pay a pass-catching tight end to not catch passes — and whether a pass-catching tight end will be happy with less passes coming his way.
In 2009, Olsen caught a career-high 60 passes. Vernon Davis of the 49ers caught 78. The prior year, when Martz was running the San Fran offense, Davis had only 30 receptions.