Chicago Bears make their first move in free agency signing Jimmy Graham

  • 2020 NFL Free Agency
  • Chicago Bears
  • Jimmy Graham
By Donnie Zelaya March 16, 2020 0 Comment
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The Chicago Bears join the free agency party by inking Jimmy Graham to a two year $16 million deal, addressing a position of need for the Bears.

The first move the Chicago Bears made in free agency was an unexpected one. After a day in which rumors and trade talk swirled and names like Teddy Bridgewater, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton, and even Derek Carr to a lesser degree. The Bears sign Jimmy Graham to a two year $16 million deal with $9 million guaranteed as reported by Ian Rapaport of the NFL Network and Adam Schefter of ESPN.

In 2019, no team floundered at the tight end position more than the Bears. Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen went on injured reserve after totaling 13 receptions and 158 yards between the two of them. Ben Braunecker, J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted, and Eric Saubert went on to combine for an additional 23 receptions, 258 yards, and 2 touchdowns. All told that amounted to 36 grabs, for 416 yards and 2 touchdowns. Underwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe the feelings surrounding these numbers. While the signing of Graham may sound like a letdown, he outperformed all the Bears’ tight ends.

This signing more than likely means the end of the Adam Shaheen experiment in Chicago and possibly the NFL. Graham is all that the Bears hoped Shaheen would be.  Even at 34 years old, Graham can still be “that guy” in the red zone for whoever the quarterback is. Far removed from his All-Pro season of 2013, Graham can still get down the middle of the field. He can be the reliable first read in Matt Nagy’s offense. Also, Graham has proved to be durable during his career, missing only seven games in his nine-year career. Having an available tight end is a start, but Graham will provide a bigger boost to the offense. More of a boost than many will believe with their quick takes by looking at his totals in Green Bay.

During his entire career in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers had only had one season in which his tight end had more than 700 yards receiving when Jermichael Finley totaled 767 receiving yards. A top tight end with Pro Bowl talent, Finley was critical of Rodgers. Suffice to say. The tight end was not a high priority nor the first option in the Green Bay offense for Rodgers. It isn’t to say that Graham will have a career resurgence in Chicago, but he still can be a valuable piece in the Bears offense.

An easy scenario to envision would be Burton and Graham as the “Y” and “U” tight ends with Demetrius Harris as the primary blocking tight end. Shaheen would be cut along with Ben Braunecker, who could be resigned to a veteran minimum deal. Horst, Holtz, or Dax Raymond could continue on the practice squad. Pace could still draft a top tight end. Brycen Hopkins hopefully, who won’t feel the pressure to produce in year one. In 2021, they can move on from Burton as his contract makes it a more comfortable out, retain Graham and pair him with Hopkins/draft pick to grow and eventually be the number one option for – insert quarterback name -.

Rest easy Bears fans, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy have a plan; Pace has always had an idea. A plan that they have not nor will ever share with the fan base, so when the moves don’t seem to make sense, keep in mind, it’s a part of the bigger picture. Austin Hooper, Jimmy Graham, Glasgow, Vonn Bell, Byron Jones, and Tom Brady/Drew Brees/Teddy Bridgewater weren’t signing with the Bears on the first day of free agency. We as fans have nothing but time to sit back, hit refresh, and watch how this all unfolds. Trust the process. Be rewarded for your trust.

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