The Green Bay Packers reportedly plan to keep Jimmy Graham in 2019.
One of the Packers‘ biggest offseason questions has been answered.
Tight end is an offseason need for Green Bay as Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks could both depart in free agency. The big question was whether the Packers would decide to move on from Jimmy Graham after one year.
Now we have the answer. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Graham is expected to be back in 2019:
This news doesn’t change too much. Tight end should remain a priority in April’s draft, especially if one, or both, of Lewis and Kendricks walk in free agency.
According to Spotrac, if the Packers cut Graham he’d still have a dead cap hit of $7.33 million. If he stays in Green Bay, his cap hit will be $12.67 million in 2019. So the decision to keep Graham or move on was a difference of just over $5 million.
Graham signed a three-year, $30 million contract last offseason, but his first year in Green Bay was a disappointing one. After catching 10 touchdown passes for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Graham had just two touchdowns in Green Bay this past season. The hope is that he can become a consistent red zone target next season.
What I do like about keeping Graham is the potential of the tight ends in Green Bay this year. Add in a rookie tight end selected in the opening couple of rounds, along with Robert Tonyan, and the Packers will have a mix of experience and young talent, and a group with a lot of potential.
If the Packers had decided to move on from Graham, they would have likely needed to sign another tight end in free agency. It would be risky entering the new season with a rookie tight end as the starter.
It’ll be interesting to see how Graham fits into Matt LaFleur’s offense and what the team’s plan is at tight end this offseason.