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Report: Bears add tight end Jimmy Graham


According to a report on NFL Network report, the Bears have agreed to terms with veteran tight end Jimmy Graham.

NFL teams are prohibited from announcing that they have agreed to terms with a free agent pending a physical until the player officially signs his contract. And it's unclear when that will be allowed to happen because—due to concerns about the coronavirus—the league is not permitting clubs to meet with free agents at their facilities or other locations.

Graham, 33, has appeared in 153 NFL games with 111 starts over 10 seasons with the Saints (2010-14), Seahawks (2015-17) and Packers (2019), catching 649 passes for 7,883 yards and 74 touchdowns.

Since Graham entered the league in 2010, his games played and receiving yards are the most among NFL tight ends, while his receptions and touchdown catches both rank second. The 6-7, 265-pounder ranks fourth in NFL history among tight ends in TD catches and is third in touchdown receptions among all players since he entered the league in 2010.

Graham has been selected to five Pro Bowls, most recently in 2017. He's the all-time leading receiver for both the Saints and Seahawks among tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Graham was selected by the Saints in the third round of the 2010 draft (95th overall). At the time, Bears general manager Ryan Pace served as New Orleans' director of pro scouting.

Graham entered the NFL after playing just one season of college football. He played basketball for four years at the University of Miami before switching to football in 2009 as a grad student. Appearing in 13 games, he caught 17 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns. 

Graham emerged as a star in his second NFL season in 2011, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl after catching 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2013, he was named first-team All-Pro when he caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and a league-leading 16 TDs. In four seasons from 2011-14, he averaged 89 receptions, 1,099 yards and 11.5 TDs per year.

On March 10, 2015, Graham was traded by the Saints to the Seahawks in exchange for center Max Unger and a first-round draft pick. In three seasons in Seattle, Graham caught 170 passes for 2,048 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Graham joined the Packers in 2018, signing a three-year contract. He caught 55 passes for 636 yards and two touchdowns in 2018 and followed with 38 receptions for 447 yards and three TDs in 2019.

Graham has been very durable throughout his NFL career, playing in 15 or 16 games in nine of his 10 years in the league. He has appeared in all 16 contests seven times, including each of the past four seasons. He hasn't missed a game since 2015 when he sat out the final five contests with a knee injury.

Graham bolsters a need position for the Bears. In 2019, their tight ends combined to produce just 46 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time since 1970 the Bears did not have a tight end record at least 100 receiving yards in a season. It certainly didn't help that the top three players on the depth chart—Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen and Ben Braunecker—all were placed on injured reserve.

Speaking at the NFL Combine last month, Pace said that the Bears would consider addressing the tight end position in free agency and the draft.

"That's an area of focus for us," Pace said. "I don't think that's a secret. This offense, a lot of it goes through the tight end. We're exploring every avenue."