Jimmy Graham could be just what the Chicago Bears need and now the team might be set at the tight end position.
Jimmy Graham is now the tight end for the Chicago Bears. I have dreamt of this happening. Well, five years ago anyway. Next, I will discuss why I am not against the Jimmy Graham’s signing and why I think Ryan Pace made the correct decision.
First, let us discuss his age. I know what you are thinking. He is going to be 34 years old in November. Why not sign Greg Olson who wanted to come back to Chicago? Walker is also a free agent. Why not spend the money on Austin Hooper?
Well, Graham is 33 years young at 10. Yep, he has 10 years in the NFL due to coming into the league at 24. Greg Olson has 13 years under his belt, and Delanie Walker has 14. Both joined the NFL at 22 years old. While age is a big part of slowing down in the NFL, time in the NFL is as well.
The quarterbacks are reason number two. What changed on offense from 2018 to 2019 for the quarterback? Well, besides a lot of things, one main thing is the tight end position. With this offense being similar in style to the Andy Reid and Doug Pederson attack, the Chicago Bears need a tight end to be productive.
When Trey Burton was brought in to be that player, he was coming off a season in which he had 11 yards per catch. It was also very close to that in 2018 with the Chicago Bears. That position, according to Matt Nagy, isn’t just an explosive part of the offense, it sets the offense for other players to get open.
So while Trey Burton was Trubisky’s explosive player and safety net, Nick Foles uses tight ends more then he does his actual wide receivers. Without looking at his Super Bowl season in week One of the 2018 season against the Falcons, Foles targeted Zach Ertz 10 times, seven to Darren Sproles, and another 10 to Nelson Agholor.
In Week Two he targeted Ertz 13 times and Agholor 12 times. The comparison keeps going. In Week 14, he targeted Ertz seven times, Dallas Goedert twice, and Alshon Jeffery eight times. In Week 15, Ertz saw16 targets, Sproles six, and Agholor seven. Nick Foles loves to read inside out.
Jimmy Graham, despite being older, still averaged almost 12 yards per catch with the Green Bay Packers. Even if he only gets 500 yards and three touchdowns, Graham still is critical to be on the field to set the offense.
The younger guys need more time. It has been stressed that outside of quarterback, that U tight end position is the hardest to learn. Another excellent addition not being talked about is the F tight end role. While most won’t remember, Nagy talked about that position when he was first hired. Most of his F tight ends are Y tight ends but are on the field a bit less. They take on the role of fullback, inline blocker, and at times receiver.
While J.P. Holtz did a stable job in the backfield with his blocking skills, his inline blocking was subpar. Also, as a receiver, he does not bring much as a mismatch. Demetrius Harris brings a basketball frame with a fullback attacking attitude to the game.
Speaking of basketball players, the Chicago Bears signed Darion Clark, USC basketball forward listed at 6’6 233 pounds. He said he spent a lot of 2019 working on becoming a tight end in the NFL. It’s a long shot, but imagine having Jimmy Graham teaching an athletic freak how to become a tight end in this offense. With Graham, Burton, Harris and Clark on the roster, fans should not be surprised if Ryan Pace is done shaking up the tight end room.