King: How Graham's friendship with Wilson could help Bears originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Jimmy Graham exceeded expectations in 2020, and proved to be an incredibly valuable red zone target for the Bears. Beyond leading the team in receiving touchdowns, Graham also took rookie tight end Cole Kmet under his wing to help him make the transition from the NCAA to the NFL. But his most valuable addition to the team may come this offseason, as the team tries to land a new starting quarterback. Specifically, Peter King thinks Graham can help recruit Russell Wilson.
“Chicago tight end Jimmy Graham is a good friend of Wilson’s, and he’s told him good things about the team and the city,” King wrote. “Wilson loves the sporting zeal of the city, the love for the Cubs, the love for the Bears, and might look at it like, Chicago hasn’t had a lot of great quarterbacks, and I could be one. Maybe I could be the missing piece, and how crazy would Chicago go if the Bears ever got great again? And I think he loves the city.”
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler shared the same sentiment last week, saying Wilson’s plans if he came to Chicago would be broader than simply coming to play quarterback.
“In a case like Chicago, he’s not thinking in terms of their struggles on offense recently,” Fowler said on “Get Up” last week. “He’s thinking in terms of turning around a franchise that is historically great, but has had struggles on offense for the better part of 20 years. He would love that kind of story.”
Graham is still under contract with the Bears for one more season, however he’s been widely speculated as a salary cap casualty this offseason. According to Spotrac, Graham carries a $10 million cap hit, $3 million of which is dead money. So, if the Bears release him, they could save $7 million and turn things over to Kmet. However, if Graham manages to convince Wilson to demand a trade to Chicago, he might be deserving of an extension for his efforts.