It’s becoming clear that the Chicago Bears free agency approach, at least early on, is focused on offense. The rumors surrounding the wide receiver position have long been public knowledge. Allen Robinson? Sammy Watkins? Albert Wilson? Nobody is off the table. What many might be surprised about is how aggressive it seems GM Ryan Pace is being at another offensive position.
After signing Dion Sims in free agency last year and then spending a second round pick on Adam Shaheen, it felt like the Bears might be set at tight end for the immediate future. Then again the NFL is a fickle business. Things change fast in a year. Sims looks like he might get cut in the coming days. As for Shaheen, hopes are high for him but it appears the coaching staff might not be comfortable putting the position squarely on his shoulders.
To that end, the buzz coming out of multiple areas is the team is heavy in the tight end market with several names attached to them.
Jimmy Graham highlights early Chicago Bears free agency run
It seems Pace plans to dig into his old contacts first. Ian Rapoport indicated on NFL Total Access that several teams are showing preliminary interest in veteran Jimmy Graham. The former Pro Bowler concluded a rather lukewarm run in Seattle and is likely looking for a new home where he can be a bigger focal point in the offense.
.@RapSheet just said the Bears are a potential destination for Jimmy Graham.
— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 12, 2018
Pace was part of the New Orleans Saints front office that drafted Graham back in 2010. He has an extensive knowledge of what the big athlete can do. He also knows Matt Nagy is a specialist at utilizing the tight end position as he did with Travis Kelce in Kansas City. That could be a good match. It isn’t the only one the Bears are considering though.
#Seahawks will have competition if they want to sign hometown TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Source tells me Bears, Jaguars, Colts also interested in former #UWHuskies, Gig Harbor HS star in free agency https://t.co/eljaJmotSk @thenewstribune
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) March 12, 2018
Austin Seferian-Jenkins came into the league as a second round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had a ton of promise in his game but struggled to stay out of trouble both on and off the field. He got a fresh start with the New York Jets during the 2016 season. A year later he seemed to regain his footing, posting 50 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns. He’s still just 25-years old.
That said, it’s possible all of this is merely misdirection
Those two names are recent. One tight end who’s been connected to the Bears for over a month is Trey Burton. He caught five touchdowns while helping the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl. There is a case to make that Graham and ASJ are a smokescreen to secure Burton.
Fully believe any reported #Bears interest in Jimmy Graham is more to mask their true interest in Trey Burton.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) March 12, 2018
It’s still just speculation at this point but the overarching facts are clear enough. Chicago is looking to overhaul the tight end position and has some credible names in mind to help them do it. Per usual this will come down to price.