The Chicago Bears have traded for Jakeem Grant. Grant is a wide receiver who has returned 101 punts in his NFL career, along with 89 kick-offs. On punt returns, he has averaged 8.9 yards per return with three touchdowns. He has averaged 24.8 yards per kick return with two touchdowns. Grant has also hauled in 91 receptions for 1,001 yards and five touchdowns in his six NFL seasons. The 28-year-old receiver should be able to provide a spark to the Bears' punt return game, and adds more speed to the wide receiver depth.
Jakeem Grant Career
Grant spent his college years in the Great Plains of Lubbock, TX, teaming up with Patrick Mahomes to put up prolific numbers in the pass game. In his career at Texas Tech (Wreck 'em), Grant totaled 3,485 yards from scrimmage and 29 touchdowns over four seasons. He also had four return touchdowns at Texas Tech.
Jakeem Grant went undrafted in 2016, and signed a UDFA deal with the Miami Dolphins. He earned a roster spot as a special teams contributor, and grew his role from there. While Grant has never been more than a role player as a wide receiver, he has provided an explosive element to the return game in the NFL.
Just last season, Grant had one punt return touchdown, and averaged 11.4 yards per punt return. He has scored a return touchdown in each of the past three seasons, and in four of the past five seasons. He has yet to return a punt or kick for a touchdown in 2021.
There is some downside for the former Red Raider, in the form of fumbles. He has 12 fumbles in his career, including two fumbles already in 2021. His full NFL career stats are available on Pro Football Reference.
I have to imagine that the addition of Grant has to spell the end for current Bears punt returner Nsimba Webster. Webster was an odd fit from the start. While he does boast punt return experience, he did not provide the ideal level of explosiveness necessary for the position. After a Ted Ginn impression this past Sunday, it makes sense that the Bears would look elsewhere for return help. As a Red Raider myself, consider me very excited to see Jakeem Grant don the Navy and Orange.
The cost of the Bears trading for Jakeem Grant feels minimal, being a sixth-round pick in 2023. While you never like to see picks leave, this feels like fair value to me. Bear Down!