The Chicago Bears hope they addressed a clear need at the tight end position when they signed former Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham to a two-year, $16 million in free agency.
As for Graham, he thinks he will thrive under Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
Graham was enamored with Nagy’s schemes for the tight end during conversations with Bears general manager Ryan Pace, also suggesting the system is the closest to the one he played in as a member of the New Orleans Saints (via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk):
“Conversations that I had with coach and with Ryan Pace and how they use their tight end . . . were just above and beyond,” Graham said, via Adam Jahns of TheAthletic.com. “I’m excited to play for Ryan Pace. I’m excited to be his player again. . . . I’m hungrier than ever.”
Graham said Nagy’s offense is the closest thing he’s seen to the Saints’ offense since he left New Orleans five years ago. The Bears would love to see Graham look like he looked in New Orleans — and not like he looked last year in Green Bay, where he managed just 38 catches for 447 yards and three touchdowns.
It was in New Orleans where Graham really made his name. He made three Pro Bowls in five years with the Saints while being named First Team All-Pro in 2013.
Graham has been a shell of his former self in recent years. The 33-year-old started in just 10 of 16 games with the Green Bay Packers last season, hauling in just 38 receptions for 447 yards. Graham has also dealt with a multitude of lingering injuries that have seemed to hamper his ability on the field.
However, Graham feels he can be productive in Nagy’s system, even as the Bears still face a bit of uncertainty at the quarterback position.