Contract Not That Bad
Yep, that is right. The contract that everyone is up in arms about is not that bad. Jimmy Graham is guaranteed $9 million dollars. There are two ways to look at the contract. First, the deal is essentially a one-year deal worth $9 million. This seems like a lot for anyone who wanted Austin Hooper who is making an average of $10.5 million per year. We cannot look at it that way though.
If Hooper were to fail to live up to expectations (which I suspect he will), he is guaranteed $23 million and the team cannot afford to cut him until 2023. If Graham were to fail to live up to expectations (which is possible), he is only worth $9 million and the team cuts ties.
Breaking down Graham’s contract even more, his 2020 cost is essentially $6 million dollars. That is less than what Greg Olsen is making this season and falls in line with Eric Ebron. If Graham does succeed (remember he has not missed a game in four years), then the Chicago Bears can retain him in 2021 by paying an additional $10 million. If he fails, they cut ties and pay him $3 million to leave town. That is not much in the grand scheme of things of the NFL.
The other area where many are complaining is the “no-trade” clause. Come on, why is anyone worried about this clause? As I just pointed out, the deal is a one-year deal with an option of two if Graham looks good in the offense. There would not be any trading going on anyway. If Graham looks that bad in year one, he will be cut. If he looks great, the Bears are not going to want to trade him or likely find a trade partner for a one-year, $10 million dollar rental player.
When breaking this down, you can see most of us overreacted to the total dollar amount. We overreacted to the idea that Graham is that much worse than the other bigger name free agent tight ends and well, we overreacted to the idea that Graham is washed after his time in Green Bay. Remember, Packers fans were calling Ha Ha Clinton-Dix a bust too, but look how he played last year. Just get onboard with the Graham addition already, this move is not that bad and has upside.