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Chicago Bears sign Saints TE Josh Hill to offer sheet

Now that Coby Fleener is roaming in New Orleans, the Bears are gambling that the Saints might be willing to part with restricted free agent tight end Josh Hill.

Hill signed an offer sheet with the Bears on Tuesday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the deal.

New Orleans has five days to match the offer. Since Hill was tendered at the right-of-first-refusal level, the Saints won't receive any compensation if they decline.

It's no surprise that Bears general manager Ryan Pace would target Hill, as he was toiling in the Saints front office when the athletic tight end was signed out of Idaho State in 2013.

Hill was a popular breakout candidate last offseason, landing at No. 10 on Around The NFL's Making the Leap list, after coach Sean Payton sang his praises as the likely replacement for Jimmy Graham.

He ended up a major disappointment in fantasy football circles, hauling in just 16 catches for 120 yards while taking a backseat to veteran tight end Ben Watson.

Despite the disappointing 2015 output, the Saints remain high on his potential.

"Josh Hill is a guy that's been in our building a while now," general manager Mickey Loomis said last month. "He's kind of been in the background behind Jimmy Graham when he was here and Ben last year as well. He's got a lot of talent. I know this, he's a versatile tight end in that he can help us in the pass game and the run game."

The Bears are hoping the cap-strapped Saints will turn to Jack Tabb as their new developmental project, and let Hill walk out the building in the next five days.

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