A look back at Jimmy Graham’s first season with the Green Bay Packers.
The five-time Pro Bowler signed a three-year, $30 million contract last March.
Let’s take a look back at Graham’s first year in Green Bay.
2018 season in review
The expectation when Graham signed with the Packers was that he’d be a dominant red zone target working with Aaron Rodgers. That simply wasn’t the case in 2018. Graham had just four catches for 35 yards and two touchdowns in the red zone all year, according to Pro Football Reference.
That was a big surprise.
Graham finished the season with 636 receiving yards, second-most for the Packers behind Davante Adams.
It certainly wasn’t a bad season for Graham, but it’s also fair to say he didn’t meet expectations. Especially given the contract he signed.
Looking ahead to 2019 season
Based on his 2018 production, GM Brian Gutekunst has a tough decision to make this offseason.
According to Spotrac, Graham’s cap hit in 2019 is $12.66 million. That’s a lot of money to pay for two touchdowns. Now, the hope would be that with another year working with Rodgers, Graham’s numbers will improve.
But that’s no guarantee. Graham will turn 33 during the 2019 season and will have to learn a new offense this offseason.
If the Packers cut Graham this offseason they’d free up over $5 million in cap room. Graham’s dead cap hit would be $7.33 million.
But if Gutekunst decides to move on from Graham this offseason, a new problem is created. All of a sudden tight end would become an even bigger need for the Green Bay Packers, and it would mean the team had failed once again to fix the position in free agency.
In all likelihood Graham will be part of the team’s plans next season, and in Matt LaFleur’s offense he could have a stronger season. But that’s a gamble, and for now it’s uncertain which decision Gutekunst will make.