<
>

Chicago Bears position preview: TE Martellus Bennett looking for repeat of 2014

The Chicago Bears begin training camp July 30 on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois.

Leading up to the first practice, we'll breakdown the roster, position by position. We next move to tight ends, where Martellus Bennett boycotted the entire voluntary offseason workout program over a contract dispute. Bennett did report to June's mandatory three-day mandatory minicamp, and told reporters he plans to show up to training camp.

The cast: Bennett (8th season), Dante Rosario (9th season), Zach Miller (6th season), Bear Pascoe (6th season), Blake Annen (2nd season), Chris Pantale (3rd season), Brian Vogler (1st season).

Key number: Bennett's 90 catches in 2014 ranked 1st among NFL tight ends and set a Bears single-season receptions record for a tight end, breaking Mike Ditka's mark of 75 in 1964.

For starters: Bennett -- voted to the Pro Bowl in 2014 -- is a top-10 tight end even though the Bears are paying him a relatively modest $4.9-million base salary. Under contract through 2016, Bennett might be playing his last year in Chicago unless he can convince the Bears to sign him to an extension next offseason. In the short term, Bennett is without question the club's best tight end. Bennett appeared in all 16 games last season, setting career-highs in receptions (90), receiving yards (916) and receiving touchdowns (six).

Backup plan: Rosario, who played for Bears head coach John Fox in Carolina and Denver, hauled in 16 receptions for 116 yards last season. With Bennett MIA, Rosario spent much of the offseason program on the first team. Miller had a terrific beginning to the preseason last summer before suffering a season-ending foot injury. He had 45 catches for 470 yards and four touchdowns in 33 games (five starts) for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2009-11. Pascoe is a 6-foot-5 blocking tight end who spent five years in New York and one season in Atlanta.

Next: Offensive line