Jimmy Graham proving the Chicago Bears made the right decision

Chicago Bears - Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears have already seen the Jimmy Graha signing pay off

We are sitting here ready for the Chicago Bears to face off against the Colts in Week 4. What is amazing is that the Bears are still undefeated despite some crazy outcomes throughout the first three weeks. Mitch Trubisky has already found himself on Matt Nagy’s bad side and is now riding the bench as Nick Foles prepares for his first start in a Bears uniform.

While watching the first three games, one thing has already stood out. Jimmy Graham has already started proving the Chicago Bears made the right decision this offseason. How many of you were screaming in anger when news dropped that Ryan Pace signed Jimmy Graham to a three-year deal? How many of you were shouting, “Graham is washed. If he could not do anything with the likes of Aaron Rodgers, how could he perform here in Chicago?”

How has the new Chicago Bears tight end done compared to the other main 2020 free agents?

Most Bears fans seemed to want Austin Hooper this offseason. I was not one of them because I felt like he was not going to live up to his contract price. Plus, I was concerned Matt Ryan inflated Hooper’s numbers and he would not find the same success just anywhere. Through three weeks, Hooper has seven catches for 62 yards. He has yet to find the end zone.

Could things change for Hooper in Cleveland as the season progresses? Of course. The season is still early, but through the first three weeks, Jimmy Graham has easily been the better player. In fact, Graham might see even more progress with Nick Foles under center. One of the issues Hooper is seeing in Cleveland is his average depth of target (ADOT) is only 3.6 yards this season. While in Atlanta, Hooper saw an ADOT of 6.9 (2018) and 6.5 (2019).

The other name that came up often this offseason was Eric Ebron. Ebron signed a cheaper deal to play with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. The contract was one area Chicago Bears fans pointed to when arguing Hooper, Ebron and Graham. Most felt that Ryan Pace severely overpaid Graham. As of now, Graham is outproducing both Hooper and Ebron though.

Ebron’s numbers look better than Hoopers at the moment, but he still has not been as productive Graham. Through three games, Ebron has nine catches for 113 yards and one touchdown. Not bad and not too far off from Graham to be honest who has 10 catches for 103 yards. Where Graham has set himself apart to this point is his touchdowns.

Graham’s 103 yards is already more than any Chicago Bears tight end had all of 2019. Graham also has three touchdowns this year, which is more than all of the Bears’ tight ends combined in 2019. Again, this is only through three games. Are you still angry?

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If we extrapolate the three tight ends’ stats over a full season, Hooper is on pace for 38 catches and 330 yards. Touchdowns can be fluky, but I would say at this pace he will not see more than five. Ebron is on pace for 48 catches, 602 yards and six touchdowns. Graham however is on pace for 53 catches, 550 yards and 16 touchdowns. I doubt he hits 16, but he is definitely on pace for double-digit scores. Again, I ask, are you still angry? Looks like the Graham signing was the right call.