By Doug Fernandes
Former Florida tight end Trey Burton got the payday he was seeking.
The former Philadelphia Eagle, who threw a 1-yard touchdown in the team’s victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, will sign a four-year, $32-million contract with the Chicago Bears.
The agreement was first reported by the NFL Network. With an average salary of $8 million a year, the 26-year-old ex-Florida Gator star will become the fifth-highest paid tight end in the National Football League. Burton earned $2.81 million last season after signing a one-year contract in April with the Eagles.
Burton will join Chicago’s 2017 second-round pick, tight end Adam Shaheen, as targets for young Bear quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Veteran tight end Zach Miller suffered a serious leg injury last season in a game against New Orleans. It’s unknown how long he’ll be sidelined.
“I think it’s a great move,” said former Bear and Riverview High head football coach Todd Johnson. “(The Bears) got a lot of excitement and hope even though they struggled the past couple of years. But you get a quarterback who you think has potential and gets excitement throughout the organization and I think the Bears have that right now. I think Trey has an opportunity to go in there and really flourish and contribute.”
Despite playing just 27 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps last season, Burton caught 23 passes for 248 yards and a career-high five touchdowns, 10th-most among tight ends. He also finished third on the team with nine special-teams tackles and recovered a fumble.
Chicago’s offensive coordinator is Matt Nagy, who relied on the tight end while in the same capacity with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Burton threw out the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies played the Tampa Bay Rays in Clearwater on Tuesday. He re-enacted his TD pass to Foles. The play was called “Philly Special.”
“The thing about Trey is he’s so versatile,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t really matter who their No. 1 tight end is because Trey’s going to find a way to get on the field and contribute and be productive.
“It’s cool to see him have so much success because he’s gone about things the right way. He’s treated people with class and respect. He’s been a good role model for all of our kids here.”