Chicago Bears will not make the playoffs if one of these four players opts out in 2020

Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham
Chicago Bears (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Graham, TE

Whoa. I bet you were not expecting to read this name among the four. The thing is, Matt Nagy’s offense thrives when it has solid tight end production. He likes to use what is known as 12 personnel, which consists of one running back and two tight ends. He also uses 22 personnel at times too, which consists of two running backs and two tight ends.

Jimmy Graham is the focal point though of the 12 and 22 personnel groupings. He is the Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz in the grouping. Can you imagine the Chiefs or the Eagles without either of their top tight ends? In fact, go back to early 2018 and watch the Bears offense when Trey Burton was thriving. He caught five of his six touchdowns within the first eight weeks. He saw games of 55, 86 and 126 yards receiving. Graham might not be what he once was, but he’s better than Burton.

If he plays all 16 games in 2020, I have him gaining over 600 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Nothing elite, but definitely an improvement over Burton’s 569 yards and six touchdowns in 2018. Plus, Graham will be a vast improvement over what they had to piece together in 2019.

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If Graham opts out in 2020, the Bears will struggle to find another “U” tight end with his talent on the current roster. Demetrius Harris and Cole Kmet are slotted to be the “Y” tight end in the 12 and 22 personnel groupings, but if Graham opts out, the team might have to push Kmet into the “U” tight end role or count on the likes of Ben Braunecker or J.P. Holtz again. This would be devastating to an offense that continues to search for its identity.