When the Bears signed Jimmy Graham last offseason, the move was almost universally panned. It ended up working out as Graham led the team with 8 receiving touchdowns, and acted as a great mentor to rookie tight end Cole Kmet.
But in an interview with “Pardon My Take,” former Bears tight end Greg Olsen revealed that at least for a moment there appeared to be a chance for him to re-sign and reunite with the Bears, instead of Graham.
“Matt Nagy called me with the GM, and we talked for like 45 minutes on the phone,” Olsen said on “PMT.” “They’re asking me questions about routes, and what kind of systems have you played in and are you comfortable with code words vs. digits. What did you do on your backside routes? What was your leverage reads? All this stuff.
“So I hang up, I say to my wife, ‘Babe, I think they really like me and want to sign me. How cool would it be if life came full circle and we could finish up my career back in Chicago?’ That would be so sick, right? I got myself so excited.”
As we know, that’s not how things worked out.
“Long story short, they’re like, ‘We don’t have enough money, we don’t have this,’” Olsen said. “So I go and sign with Seattle. Day 1 of f------ free agency they sign Jimmy Graham. I’m like, ‘What the f---?!?’ And they paid him more than what I wanted!”
That’s not entirely true based on certain contract quirks, but Graham did earn more total. Olsen signed a one-year, $7 million deal, fully guaranteed with the Seahawks, according to Spotrac. Graham signed a two-year, $16 million deal with $9 million guaranteed. Graham’s cap hit was $1 million less than Olsen’s cap hit was last season.
On the field, Graham outgained Olsen by 217 yards and scored seven more touchdowns, so the Bears certainly got more bang for their buck by signing Graham too.
“I go to my wife— and I love Jimmy, it has nothing to do with Jimmy— but when they signed Jimmy, those guys, it was like they used me,” Olsen said. “It was like they took me on a cheap date, picked my brain for everything they knew, then they just like gave me an Uber and sent me my way.”