Packers free agency: Why they shouldn’t sign Jimmy Graham

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 17: Tight end Jimmy Graham
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 17: Tight end Jimmy Graham /

The Green Bay Packers shouldn’t sign Jimmy Graham.

The NFL’s legal tampering period began yesterday and the Green Bay Packers have reportedly been linked to several free agents, including Jimmy Graham.

But, should they even bother bringing in  the tight end?

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, was quick to point out a new era in Green Bay has begun with their interest in Graham.

Graham will officially become a free agent on Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT. Last season he played in all 16 regular season games, caught 57 passes for 520 yards and 10 scores. It was the fourth time the veteran scored double-digit touchdowns and the first time since 2014.

He earned him his fifth trip to the Pro Bowl. This is the second time in his career he made the Pro Bowl in consecutive years.

On the contrary, his 520 receiving yards was his lowest total since his rookie season. Graham can still play, but he isn’t getting any younger and will turn 32-years-old in November.

Just last offseason, the Packers went down the veteran tight end route with Martellus Bennett and it was a disaster.

Two years ago, Green Bay added Jared Cook, who provided a spark in the postseason but was average at best when present on the field during the regular season.

Is Graham better than Bennett and Cook? Of course he is. But, based on the Packers’ recent history with renting tight ends they should be skeptical.

Garafolo noted on Tuesday that the Saints, who are also interested in bringing Graham back to New Orleans, are ‘reluctant’ to pay him up to $10 million per year.

It would be a mistake for the Packers to pay Graham $10 million per year. They should be focused on paying for future production, not past production.

The Packers need to address the tight end position, but it shouldn’t be a necessity at that price tag.

As Ralph Mancini pointed out in his post, Graham has been inconsistent. Last season he didn’t record double-digit receptions in a single game. In the final four weeks of the year, he caught one pass or less in three of those games.

Green Bay should focus on spending money on the defense and fill the tight end void via the draft.

According to several reports, Kirk Cousins is set to join the Minnesota Vikings and if the Packers stay put defensively, they will be playing for second place.

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The Packers have lacked a playmaking tight end since Jermichael Finley and it is certainly a need, but looking at the current landscape of the NFC North, improving their defense should come way before overpaying a veteran tight end.