Chicago Bears: Is Jimmy Graham on his way out the door?

Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears seem to have made enough room within their salary cap budget to be done making moves in 2021. Once Charles Leno comes off the books after June 1st, the team should have just enough to sign their rookie class. It seems, however, that Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears might not be completely done making moves though.

Although this is all pure speculation and we cannot find any substantiated sources agreeing with this rumor, it appears that Jimmy Graham might be on his way out the door.

We need to realize that Jimmy Graham was always a potential cap casualty. We had him pegged along with Akiem Hicks and Charles Leno as potential cost-cutting moves this offseason. We also made mention of moving or restructuring Kyle Fuller’s contract, but instead, he became a cap-casualty as well. Seeing Kmet take over the lead tight end snaps last year made it even more clear that Jimmy Graham’s time in Chicago was and still could be limited.

The hate for the Chicago Bears signing Jimmy Graham proved to be unwarranted

Jimmy Graham signed a two-year $16 million dollar contract last offseason. The deal was worth $9 million guaranteed and fans went crazy about how much of an overpay Graham was last year. When you break down his contract, last year it was honestly not bad at all. Plus, the team had an out this year if they wanted to take it, saving a total of $7 million dollars. Right now, it appears the team wants him to take a pay cut. Not sure if he will or not, but it could lead to him heading out the door.

The Chicago Bears would literally have Cole Kmet as the only option at tight end. Yes, there are other names, some popular among fans, in Jesper Horsted and J.P. Holtz. However, if the team is counting on either of them this season, then we should not expect much production out of the position.

Jimmy Graham contributed early in 2020 and he contributed big time in the red zone. He finished the year with 76 targets, 50 catches, 456 yards and eight touchdowns. Add in Cole Kmet’s numbers and the two combined for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns. Their combined stats gave the Chicago Bears a top-5 tight end in regards to production, while Jimmy Graham came in as the 10th best tight end in the NFL on his own last year.

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At this point, I think the team would like to keep Jimmy Graham and the hope here is that he continues to help Cole Kmet grow and develop. Graham was a crucial part in the reason why Russell Wilson named the Bears as a team he’d be open to moving onto should the Seahawks agree to trade him. Wilson and Graham are good friends and Graham seems to like the culture here in Chicago.

The question is, will that culture be good enough to take a pay cut or will the Bears cave and just keep paying Jimmy Graham for his final year of services?