The Chicago Bears had the oldest roster in the NFL at the start of the regular season, with numerous aging starters on either side of the ball.
With an average age of 27.0, the Bears roster is full of seasoned veterans – but the team’s goal should be to build around rookie quarterback Justin Fields, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get younger all around, though included.
One analyst thinks retirement could make Chicago younger – at least that is what he thinks should happen. In his Nov. 15 column, Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton listed several former All-Pro players who “should consider retiring” after the 2021 season ended, and the Bears were the only team with two players on the list.
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Seasoned tight end Jimmy Graham is in his 12th season and will turn 35 at the end of November. His 2021 campaign was by far the worst of his career as he only has two catches for 39 yards on six targets. He has started three games and has played seven this season after playing all 16 last year. This drop in production and play time is baffling, which is why it is time for Moton for Graham to DJ after the season is over. That and TE Cole Kmet in their sophomore year.
“Graham played 30 percent of the snaps this year, and he doesn’t play a role in passing,” Moton said. “Graham’s contract will expire at the end of his 2021 term, and the Bears have no reason to sign him again with the recent appearance of Kmet, who posted a career high of 87 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9.”
While Graham led the team at eight touchdown receptions last season, he wasn’t even close to the red zone threat he once was. He also admitted that this off-season he was considering retiring so his days in the NFL could be counted.
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Moton also believes Bears’ veteran O-lineman Jason Peters should quit after the season. Here’s why:
Also good points from Moton, but the harsh reality for the Bears is that Peters was more subservient than many initially thought he was – and arguably the best offensive lineman of the season. He has started all nine games so far and his 76.8 overall rating from PFF ranks 20th among all tackles. His 74.7 run block mark ranks 16th.
Given that Chicago took him off the streets weeks before the regular season started, his resignation wouldn’t be a surprise, but he was also better than people thought. If he stays healthy – and that’s a big if – other teams may be interested in signing him in case he wants to play next year. Crazy things have happened.
With Bears Rookie Tackle Teven Jenkins returns to the practice however, on November 15th, Peters will likely be dead after this season, a resignation is definitely possible.
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