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Bears release tight end Dion Sims

The Bears did what has seemed inevitable since midway through last season, cutting veteran tight end Dion Sims on Thursday.

A blocking tight end who never caught on in the passing game, Sims was due to make $6 million in 2019. Cutting him should double the Bears’ projected available cap space, jumping from $6 million to $12 million. The Bears could use the financial wiggle room to retain one, or both, of their defensive starters who are due to enter free agency next month: nickel cornerback Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos.

While he was probably the Bears’ No. 3 tight end, Sims was considered the best blocker of a group that includes Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker. The Bears figure to pursue a veteran blocker via free agency when the league season begins in March.

The Bears signed Sims to a three-year, $18 million deal two years ago hoping to develop him into a solid pass catcher, but he caught only 15 balls for 180 yards in John Fox’s final season. He missed two games following a bye week because of a mystery illness.

Dion Sims may not return to the Bears for a third season. | Jeff Haynes/AP Images

Sims was a potential cap casualty last March, but the Bears decided to keep him and use him as an in-line blocker in Matt Nagy’s system. He caught only two passes in eight games — playing more than half the Bears’ snaps only twice — before suffering at least the second concussion of his Bears career on Nov. 4. He was placed on injured reserve.

In his Bears career, Sims caught 17 passes on 33 targets and scored one touchdown.