Chicago Bears: Jimmy Graham is living up to his contract

The Chicago Bears were mocked over their signing of veteran tight end Jimmy Graham but the early results of the season tell a different story.

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace was mocked this past offseason due to the signing of veteran Jimmy Graham to a two year contract worth $16 million.

The reason for the criticism of Pace over this signing is because Graham’s time with the Green Bay Packers appeared to indicate that the game has passed the veteran tight end by.

During his final season with the Packers in 2019, Graham totaled 447 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns on 38 receptions.

Given the desperation that Pace had at the tight end position after the Bears rolled out no name tight end after no name tight end during the 2019 season, the general manager decided to gamble on a familiar face in Graham.

Through the first five games of the 2020 season, the gamble has paid off for Pace.

Graham has proven to be the Bears’ primary red zone target this season as the tight end has 4 touchdowns through the team’s first give games. Not only does Graham’s 4 touchdowns this season surpass his touchdown total from 2019 but it is 1 shy of the total amount of touchdowns that he had with the Packers during the two years that he was with Green Bay.

Overall, Graham has a total of 169 yards and 4 touchdowns on 17 receptions. Graham’s 4 touchdowns this season is second only to Robert Tonyan of the Packers.

Graham has been the exact tight end that the Bears needed this season.

The biggest issue that the Bears have had over the course of the past two seasons is their inability to convert touchdowns while in the red zone. It is among the leading reasons why the Bears offense has struggled as a whole. Graham is doing his part to fix the problem:

The Bears do not need Graham to be the Travis Kelce of their offense. The Bears do not even need Graham to be the Jimmy Grahan in his prime of their offense. The Bears need Graham to be the Jimmy Graham that he has been through the first five games of this season.

With Graham serving as potent red zone threat this season, that creates opportunities for primary wide receiver Allen Robinson. Previously, the Bears had no other red zone threat besides Robinson and that led to opposing teams taking Robinson out of the Bears’ red zone plans and forcing the offense into a mistake.

Graham being a legitimate red zone threat is a great sign for the Bears’ offense. Reason being it will now open things for Robinson and force defensive teams into having to decide which one to prioritize and thus, allowing quarterback Nick Foles to target the one who is not being targeted.

What are your thoughts on how Jimmy Graham has been this season? Sound off in the comments section with your thoughts.