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Jimmy Graham deal suggests Bears expect big things

The Bears gave Jimmy Graham a rather sizable two-year deal. We break down fantasy implications of some of the contract details.

Jimmy Graham of the Green Bay Packers runs after a catch against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears inked tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year contract early in free agency, and the new details offer some potentially useful insight for productivity purposes.

Graham’s two-year $16 million deal included a $9 million signing bonus. Additionally, he gets base salaries of $3 million and $6.9 million the next two seasons, per beat writer Brad Biggs. Finally, his deal includes a no-trade clause per NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo.

The Bears can get out of the deal after one year with relative ease, but they’re still paying a lot for a guy who seems to be in the closing stage of his career. Last season in Seattle, he caught 38 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. It’s decent production, but not for the price tag and the now downgrade in quarterback with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky competing for the starting job.

It’s also worth noting the team is paying Trey Burton as a top ten tight end. He has cap hits of $8.55 million and $8.85 million in 2020 and 2021. They can get out of his deal with ease after this year if they are so inclined, but given the money they’re paying both tight ends, it will be interesting see how this impacts the pass distribution in 2020. This is a team with Allen Robinson and Tarik Cohen combining for 258 targets, and Anthony Miller getting 85 of his own.

The pass distribution will be something to watch with Graham added to the mix. Graham was the 21st ranked tight end a year ago, while Burton finished 71st thanks to an injury-shortened season. Neither is worth drafting for the time being outside of huge dynasty leagues.