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Former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham joining rival Bears

Ryan Wood
Packers News
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (80) signals a first down against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field Monday, October 15, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis.

GREEN BAY – Jimmy Graham’s next payday will remain in the same ballpark as his last.

Despite two underwhelming seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Graham retained market value. The Chicago Bears signed Graham to a two-year, $16 million contract Monday that included $9 million guaranteed, according to ESPN. His $8 million annual salary keeps Graham well within the league’s top-10 players at his position.

The Packers released Graham on Thursday two years into his three-year contract, clearing $8 million in salary-cap relief. Graham’s slide from his first season (55 catches, 636 yards, two touchdowns in 2018) continued last season, when he caught 38 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns. The catches and yards were his fewest since his rookie season in 2010. At 33 years old, Graham’s mobility lagged far behind the former Pro Bowl talent he was early in his career.

One of Graham’s few highlights with the Packers came in last season’s opener at Chicago, when he scored the Packers’ first touchdown of their renaissance season with an 8-yard grab from Aaron Rodgers in the second quarter. Such plays were too few and far between over his two seasons with the Packers, leading to his dismissal last week.

The Bears will hope Graham’s productivity increases in Chicago.