Chicago Bears: 3 tight ends who could replace Jimmy Graham

Chicago Bears - Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham
Chicago Bears – Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears are still somewhat up against the salary cap. Over the Cap has the Chicago Bears with just over $200,000 in salary cap space, but they have their “effective” salary cap at negative -$3 million. This is likely because the Bears are still needing to sign their 2021 NFL Draft picks. Spotrac has the Chicago Bears at negative -$1.9 million. Once Charles Leno officially comes off the books though, the team should be able to sign their draft picks and be barely under the cap.

Rumors, although unsubstantiated at this point, have been floating around now that Jimmy Graham could be the next cut by the Chicago Bears unless he agrees to a pay cut. If the team can convince Graham to take a $6 million dollar pay cut, he’d be owed $4 million and the team would save another $6 million in cap space. The Bears could even incentivize the contract to push it up closer to $7 million should he reach certain plateaus set between the two sides.

What if the Chicago Bears and Jimmy Graham part ways?

Let us assume the two sides cannot reach an agreement though. Let us assume that Ryan Pace will have to cut Graham despite not wanting to, similar to what happened with Kyle Fuller. That would leave the tight end room looking very thin.

The starting tight end no matter what happens with Jimmy Graham will be Cole Kmet. However, behind him would be J.P. Holtz, Jesper Horsted and Darion Clark. How comfortable would you feel with that group of guys? Nothing against Kmet, but it is not like he is Antonio Gates or Travis Kelce at this point in his career. This team will need to have an insurance policy of some kind. Hypothetically, if Pace has to pull the plug on Graham, he should look to sign one of these three tight ends.