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Cory's Corner: Jimmy Graham Must Be Cut In 2019

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Cory's Corner: Jimmy Graham Must Be Cut In 2019

I was pleasantly surprised when the Packers signed Jimmy Graham last March. 

I’ve always said that a dynamic tight end is an offensive equalizer. And Graham has been known as just that. 

The problem of course, is that Graham hasn’t been dynamic since 2016. Graham was supposed to be another receiver and cause major headaches for opposing defenses. 

Now, it’s hard for the Packers to put him on the field. His routes are careless, he has the fourth-lowest reception percentage of his career and has the worst Pro Football Focusoffensive grade of his career. 

To make matters worse, Graham is signed until 2020. There’s no way the Packers can afford to pay Graham his 2019 cap hit of $12.66 million for another uninspiring year. According to Over The Cap, if the Packers cut him before June 1, they would only owe him $7.3 million, if they cut him after June 1 that number drops to a manageable $3.6 million. 

It also doesn’t help that Graham doesn’t explain anything. He refuses to talk and answer questions about himself or the team. Maybe he truly doesn’t understand or appreciate the media’s role, but I’m sure that act has gotten old with teammates. None of Graham’s teammates want to keep answering questions about the tight end that refuses to open up. 

Graham has had all season to show and prove that he truly wants to be in Green Bay and play alongside the best quarterback of his career. I really thought that Aaron Rodgers would kick-start Graham’s career again after being stuck in idle with Seattle.

Is Graham 100 percent healthy? That’s a great question that we won’t know because Graham doesn’t talk to the media. Does he have a strong grasp of the offense or has he meshed properly with Rodgers? More questions that will never be answered. 

Graham just turned 32 in November and one would’ve thought that he could’ve easily played until 33 or 34. But this doesn’t have anything to with age but it has everything to do with effort. The best way to understand effort is how much someone is willing to play when things don’t go your way. 

Well, this season has gone sideways for the Packers and little, if anything has gone their way. He has shown a lack of effort in blocking and has barely been able to get open because he doesn’t make sharp, staccato cuts. 

This may sound like hyperbole but Graham was a bust. The Packers thought that they were going to get another Jermichael Finley when they signed him, but now it seems that the comparison is a shot on Finley. 

Graham can still show that he wants to be in Green Bay in the next three games but all that’s going to do is delay the inevitable. 

Let him go. The Packers need capable pass catchers that understand what their role is and can create something on their own.

There’s no trust from Rodgers right now because he knows that Graham cannot consistently win his one-on-one matchups. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (124) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

The TKstinator's picture

Cutting Graham at the most advantageous salary cap date is OK w/TK.

HankScorpio's picture

That would be early on in the process. He's due a $5.3 mil roster bonus on the 5th day of the 2019 league yr. So before that.

Paying him another $9 mil in 2019 is a poor allocation of cap resources based on what we've seen in 2018. He's a glorified WR. You can find a WR to rank 78th in yds/game and 103rd in TDs for less than $9 mil. If he was a true TE that was capable of inline blocking in addition to those pass catching numbers, it might be different. That's not the case. So just cut your losses and move on.

dobber's picture

"He's due a $5.3 mil roster bonus on the 5th day of the 2019 league yr. So before that."

Very true. Still, the question might be a bit on usage. Will a new, offensive-minded HC want Graham? Maybe the new coach/OC will see him as washed up. I don't see anything happening with Graham until the new staff gets a chance to get into place and evaluate personnel. If Kendricks (who has been a disappointment), Lewis and Graham all go, the only TE left on the roster is an unproven Robert Tonyan. My guess is that Graham will be back in 2019.

"According to Over The Cap, if the Packers cut him before June 1, they would only owe him $7.3 million, if they cut him after June 1 that number drops to a manageable $3.6 million. "

Remember that if they designate him a June 1 cut, that's $3.6M in 2019 AND $3.6M in 2020. You split the dead money over two cap years. Still, $3.6M seems manageable....until you need it.

Guam's picture

Spot on comment Dobber. Assuming the new HC likes TE's, the Packers will have to keep one of the three vets (Graham, Lewis, Kendricks) to go along with Tonyan and a draftee. Graham is certainly the likely candidate unless they can sign a better veteran free agent. Given our success (sarcasm) with veteran free agent TE's lately, Graham may be our only option.

mrtundra's picture

How have we used Marcedes Lewis? I see him used mostly in blocking on pass plays. I only recall him making one catch this season and that was last game. He must have had more than that, but I don't remember any. I was encouraged when Philbin called those quick rhythm pass plays early in the Atlanta game. Those plays are made for TEs to catch past the line in the flat. We need more of those quick rhythm plays to better use our TEs.

Old School's picture

Mercedes Lewis is a blocker. Always has been. Still is. He's not a receiver and the Packers didn't bring him here because they needed another receiver.

I'd like up in a double TE a lot more and let Williams and Jones run.

Jamie Freier's picture

Bullcrap he's got good hands.

"Lewis attended UCLA, and played for the UCLA Bruins football team from 2002 to 2005. In 49 games with the Bruins, he started 32 times. He ranks ninth on the school's overall career-record receiving list and first among tight ends with 126 receptions, holding the UCLA tight end all-time records with 1,571 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns. As a senior in 2005, Lewis was a first-team All-Pacific-10 selection, a consensus first-team All-American, and won the John Mackey Award, given annually to the top tight end in college football."

Old School's picture

First, cutting Graham accelerates the remaining $7+ million, so we're creating $7 million in dead money. Think about that.

Secondly, I do not understand this fascination with creating holes so we can fill them in the draft. Replace Graham, replace Bulaga, replace Perry, replace Matthews, replace replace replace.

Third, by an objective measure you want to use, Graham has been a Top 10 TE in the league this year. Yards, receptions, average......all in the Top Ten.

Fourth, the contract has an out after the 2019 season. At that point, we can release him if we wish without creating $7 million in dead money.

Fifth, this is a guy who showed up with a broken hand on a cold December day to play for nothing but pride. I want guys like that on my team. It'd be easy for him to just take the money and go inactive but he's not doing that.

Cutting Graham after this season would be foolish, and I'd be willing to bet a cold sixpack of Pabst that it won't happen.

HankScorpio's picture

"Third, by an objective measure you want to use, Graham has been a Top 10 TE in the league this year. Yards, receptions, average......all in the Top Ten"

That's a bad faith argument. It compares his pass catching numbers only against other TEs and completely ignores that he's an atrocious blocker for TE.

If you want to measure him as a TE, do it. And let's talk blocking. If you want to ignore his blocking, that fine too. But at least say he's more like top 60 among pass catchers, not top 10.

HankScorpio's picture

If the new staff wants to keep Graham, I'll view that as a bad sign.

And there is no need to push cap hit into 2020 on Graham. Especially when it seems likely that will be done with Nick Perry and larger numbers.

TheBigCheeze's picture

hank...."a glorified WR"????........if that were true....I'd TAKE that.....truth is.....he's a useless, good-for-nothin' big puss.....CBs 1/2 his size, manhandle him like a ragdoll...cut the bum, and bring back Jordy....

Coldworld's picture

When the season opened I expected imaginative us of one and two TE sets. This never occurred. I don’t like the way we have used Graham or Lewis. That is, to me, a major factor in the underproduction that is making people irate.

Were Graham healthy, I’d look to see his usage change. As it is, the usage is compounded by a hand injury: go with another option, Tonyan or even a second true slot.

In the long run, a new coach must have input. How will he seek to use TEs, Graham in particular and can the individuals we have still contribute within the framework of that intended usage.

HankScorpio's picture

Point taken about Graham. Bringing back jordy is not going to happen, except for some alumni re-union.

Hawg Hanner's picture

Agree he's a major bust. Has to be knee/leg issues but he now has the speed of a Richard Rogers and at his salary forget about it and cut him at the right time.

carlos's picture

The video did show a sloppy route, but the concept of the play seemed to have to many receivers flooded in one zone causing also too many db’s in the area also. Not a whole lot of windows to fit the ball in. I think Graham should have cut towards the center of the field using his height to make a big target. I may be way off on my assessment of the play, but it probably doesn’t matter because he probably wouldn’t catch it anyway.

carlos's picture

I’d have Graham inactive. Play some young guys. Especially Tongan. Sit Kendrick’s also.

carlos's picture

Tonyan. Sorry a typo.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Graham has not lived up to expectations. To high a price for to little production. Time to release him and move on. Tonyan has shown some promise with the little time he has been on the field.

The TKstinator's picture

Yes! Give us more Tonyan!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was hoping to see more Tonyan. I guess he's under control so they need to see what Graham can do with a busted thumb instead.

Makes sense right? It's just like the Braatz Infante era except we can talk about it on touchscreens

Skip greenBayless's picture

I agree. Tonyan is going to be one tough SOB football player shortly. He has the right mindset for the position.

One other thing. I don't know if he's still playing anymore but I always thought Jeff Janis would be a perfect guy to put on a little more weight and convert to a tight end ala Todd Christensen. I say sign Janis and start the transition process now so he's ready next season. Janis and Tonyan would be better than anything we have now. Besides who the hell would not welcome back Jeff Janis?

Packatron's picture

LOL Jeff Janis.

Tim Backes's picture

Janis Christ Superstar is always welcome in Green Bay. Frankly I think we'd have at least five more wins if he was still on the team!

LeotisHarris's picture

'Tis true, Tim. Janis would have been the answer to our woes at Safety and edge rusher, but NO!

Rak47's picture

Dash, you're killing me man you're killing me! :-}

dobber's picture

I don't mind seeing him play more, but he's shown one improvisational TD (his only catch) in 30 offensive snaps. I think we need to temper our expectations for Tonyan.

Coldworld's picture

Got to be targeted of course. Not sure he has had many (and the TD was a case of mistaken identity per Rodgers).

dobber's picture

I can't help but wonder, then, if ARod would've thrown that pass if he'd known it wasn't Graham...

CAG123's picture

Sounds like a rerun to me you guys always want a vet to be cut for some undrafted player out of Wyoming community college university y’all did it with Michael Clark, Lenzy Pipkins, Kentrell Brice, Reggie Gilbert and I’m pretty sure some other DB from a few years ago and now Tonyan who’s made a grand total of “a play” it’s all fun and games until you’re in the starting lineup and teams que in on you. I say give Graham another year like the safety position with Collins the Packers haven’t been able to properly utilize the TE position since Finley retired hell MM damn near abandoned it. Let’s not forget through almost half the season teams were giving Graham a lot of respect with the constant double teams.

Old School's picture

Totally agree. Let's cut a future HOFer who is in the Top Ten in yards, receptions, and average so that we can spend a high draft pick on a guy who we HOPE will be better.

Currently, we have four picks in the Top 100. I assume we're looking at a QB, an edge rusher, a safety, …...why on Earth create a hole at TE that we don't need to?

The TKstinator's picture

Finley was a 3rd rounder, if memory serves.
(And yes, I think so was Richard Rodgers. Ugh.)

Colleges throw all the time now. (With a few exceptions, of course.)

I can’t believe that GB won’t be able to find a receiving tight end in a reasonable round of the draft. (In other words, it doesn’t have to be in the first.)

dobber's picture

If Cobb goes, as we all expect, and they let the three-headed-monster of Graham-Kendricks-Lewis (Kenwisham) go, that leaves Adams, a bunch of second-year WRs, Tonyan, and whatever they draft/pull off the FA scrap heap to support #12 in 2019.

Look at the targets in the two games since Cobb came back...
Adams-Cobb-Graham: 51
All other WR/TE: 14

mnklitzke's picture

Lewis why have they not given him any love at all. Is he that bad in practice? Cause we know that Graham and Kendricks suck. Seems like they have not given Lewis a chance. He was a pretty good TE in Jax....

Coldworld's picture

The measurables required to be truly effective as a TE in the NFL are rare indeed. Not many about.

RCPackerFan's picture

I'm going against the grain but i think they should keep Graham.
Has he been great, NO.

That being said, i think another year working with Rodgers will allow him to get more in sync with him. The problem with the TE position is that it has been a revolving door at the position the last few years. First they brought in Cook. He was becoming a player that Rodgers started to trust more and more late in the year and then Thompson/Ball let him go to bring in Bennett. Big Mistake. Trying to correcting that mistake they brought in Graham. While he hasn't been the player many of us hoped for, he still has value. I do think that another year working with Rodgers, they will get more in sync with each other.

Part of the problem this year is that Rodgers hasn't had his trusted WR's. He has missed a lot of practice time and is still learning to play with the new players.

I fully believe next year he will be more in sync with everyone.

So for me I don't let Graham go. I do however go and draft a TE fairly high this year. They need to add a young talented player to the position!

HankScorpio's picture

"That being said, i think another year working with Rodgers will allow him to get more in sync with him."

I'm really beginning to despise the notion that guys need 2-3 years in GB before they can show anything as pass catchers. Eliminating that is my biggest priority with a new coaching staff in 2019. Whether that means instilling a different mindset in Rodgers or a new set of plays/route combos, I don't really care.

But we cannot have it continue that a guy needs to be carried as dead weight for a year or two before he contributes like his talent allows.

Rossonero's picture

I hear you on the frustration of waiting. However, it's rare for a rookie WR to go for 1,000 yards or even come close to it. Amari Cooper is an outlier in 2015, but even for 1st rd WRs to hit that mark, they are few and far between.

For WRs especially -- it's like going to grad school. The route tree in the pros is a lot more complex, adjusting to the speed of the NFL, speed of thought, earning your QB's trust, all while staying healthy and assuming there are no coaching changes on offense.

Jordy Nelson didn't start emerging until the 2010 season and he was drafted in 2008. Greg Jennings emerged in his 2nd year with 932 yards, so it all depends. Donald Driver was drafted in '99, but didn't emerge until the 2002 season. He went from 13 catches for 167 yards in 2001 to 70 catches and 1,064 yards in 2002.

RCPackerFan's picture

Very well said!

It takes time for young WR's to learn the nuances of playing in the NFL.

And with Rodgers he knows everything about the offense. He knows exactly where his guys are supposed to be. The problem is they all don't know that. And when they aren't, he loses trust in them. It creates hesitation.

That is a lot of the problems that we are seeing from this year.

HankScorpio's picture

We're not talking about a rookie. Graham is playing his 9th season on his 3rd team.

Monsmoy's picture

I agree. We have the best QB in the league and yet it takes a minimum of a season to click between AR12 and a receiver. It does not make sense. A top QB's value is making things happen around him, not waiting for all the other players to be exactly in place. Something does have to change because it is not viable to always have your favourite receivers like Nelson.

PeteK's picture

Not anymore, watch a KC game.

RCPackerFan's picture

Whatever reason with Rodgers in McCarthy's system, he has to have trust in his receivers. The only true way to gain trust is working with each other. This year Rodgers was hurt, which affect him a lot of practice time with Graham and the rookie WR's. His veteran WR's got hurt too.

The problem of late is that they simply haven't been adding the talent like they did earlier in his career. In 2006 they drafted Jennings. 2007 Jones. 2008 Nelson & Finley.

That is the core of the problem. Since they drafted Cobb in 2011, they didn't draft another WR higher then the 7th round until 2014 when they took Adams. In 2015 they took Montgomery but then switched him to RB.
2016 they added Trevor Davis in the 6th round.
2017 they added Yancey in the 5th and Dupre in the 7th.
2018 they added Moore in the 4th, MVS in the 5th and EQ in the 6th.

For TE since they took Finley in the 3rd round in 2008, they took Quarless in the 5th round in 2010. DJ Williams in the 5th round 2011. 2014 they took Richard Rodgers in the 3rd. 2015 Kennard Backman in the 6th.

They haven't added top end talent and developed them. Rodgers hasn't been able to build a rapport with a lot of guys because the new ones they brought in, most are not with the team anymore.

We can't keep having a revolving door at positions. Keep Graham another year should help IMO.

fastmoving's picture

I would argue that Finley and Nelson needed a couple of years too, to get AR trust and becoming difference makers.

I said that already a lot, but I think we have a better receiving corps than ever before (except the one year where Jennings, Driver, Nelson, Jones, Coob and Finley played lights out). Adams is a Nr.1 and MVS, QB and Moore have more speed and size than all the guys before them. They could had easily drafted way higher, all of them.

For me its on AR and how he uses them, in that area he has to learn a lot form Brady, Bress and even Favre

flackcatcher's picture

Just shows how much of the draft is a crap shoot. Fans whine about Thompson but those later picks had all the physical tools, but as much as football teams try, they can not measure want, got to, or football IQ.

Old School's picture

How long did it take Adams? Jordy?

Here's the reality: It takes time to become a good receiver in the NFL. It takes practice time with your QB, it takes game action.

Graham has been a Top 10 TE in the league this year by any measure you want to use. It's unlikely we're going to be able to prove on that. He's sure as hell not dead weight....that's nonsense.

HankScorpio's picture

"Graham has been a Top 10 TE in the league this year by any measure you want to use"

Ok, show me the stat/rating that has him as top 10 TE in blocking. Next, try TDs.

I'll wait. Forever. Because he's not even close to top 10 in either metric.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"problem this year is that Rodgers hasn't had his trusted WR's"

This year? I think it's more like five years. Gald he has Brady's interception record now. I guess that's been his goal.

HankScorpio's picture

"According to Over The Cap, if the Packers cut him before June 1, they would only owe him $7.3 million, if they cut him after June 1 that number drops to a manageable $3.6 million. "

Incorrect. They would owe him nothing. They would "owe" the cap an allocation for money they already paid him in the form of his signing bonus. That's an accounting device, not a $$ transfer.

I'm not trying to pick nits. I think that is a pretty significant distinction that any serious football commentator ought to get correct. It is cap economics 101 and fundamental to viewing player movement in the NFL.

Cory Jennerjohn's picture


That makes sense. Since Graham has a $5 million bonus on the 5th day of the 2019 calendar, that money can be used for dead money accounting purposes. So if the Packers cut him after June 1, technically Graham would owe the Packers money. Ha ha.

HankScorpio's picture

If they pay that roster bonus, it is a clear signal they are keeping him. He'll be gone before that payment is due or around for the duration of 2019

The June 1 date is just another accounting gimmick that has no actual impact on dollar transfers from the Packers to Graham. To me, it doesn't make a whole ton of sense to call him a post June 1 cut. It's only $3.67 mi. Take the hit in 2019 and be done with it.

OTOH, the ability to use a post June 1 designation with Nick Perry means 2019 will be the first opportunity to get out of that bad deal.

Old School's picture

He signed a contract that included $11 million in signing bonus. That 11 years is pro-rated over the three years of his deal. We can play him, cut him, dance with him or drink beer with him but it's still $11 million.

If we cut him after the season, the entire remaining $7 million accelerates to the next cap year and that's all dead money. IF we wait until after June 1, then we can pro-rate it over two seasons, but it's still $7 million.

The guy is Top 10 in the significant categories. He's the #2 receiver on the #8 passing offense. And you think you're going to improve on that in the draft?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I dislike dead money more than most folks, but we also throw $8.7M more dollars at Graham if he plays for GB in 2019.

Graham is not worth a $12.66M cap hit.
Is Graham worth $8.7M new money in 2019?
Should GB take the dead $ hit?
Option A: Straight release. ($5.33M cap savings).
Option B: June 1 cut. $9M cap saving, $3.67 dead in 2020.

Should we keep Graham because every other TE sucks? Isn't this the argument for re-signing Nick Perry, CM3 for 2019, and for keeping CM3, Bulaga, and Cobb in 2018.

Looks like per the comments (so far) GB has to blow a 2nd round pick every 2 years so we can keep the dead money to a minimum (assumes an occasional bust). Another option is to pay the WR group $35M to $40M. Say $10M for Cobb, $10M for Nelson, and $14.5M for Adams. This is because AR can't get a receiver in year one in GB to do much of anything regardless of whether the receiver is a rookie or a 9-year veteran. Brady got Cooks over 1,000 in Cooks' first season in New England but AR just can't do that. Ever. Took most of a year with Jared Cook, and so far AR hasn't meshed with Graham, and isn't so hot at throwing to RBs. I suppose we can be happy that it doesn't take AR 2 years before he can hand the ball off to RBs.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I think the salary cap is the issue for the Packers. When it comes to cash, they are ok.

HankScorpio's picture

No doubt. The Packers are creeping up on the cash reserves to buy another team.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't remember, but I think the reserve was $280M at the end of the fiscal year. Paid AR $57.5M and $11M more to Graham and $3.25M to Tramon. Not a good year.

HankScorpio's picture

Ok, so maybe they can only buy a hockey team. ;)

GVPacker's picture

Cory I agree with your assessment of Jimmy Graham's performance! How does the 2019 NFL Draft prospects look in terms of Talented Collegiate Tight Ends?

Cory Jennerjohn's picture

Missouri's Albert Okwuegbunam is the prize. He's 6-5, 260 and athletic. I also like Iowa's Noah Fant and Stanford's Kaden Smith.

Coldworld's picture

Even if he falls to us, I’d rather go OLB. Good year for them and massive need. After that, tackle potentially. We have too many holes to invest our top picks on a receiving TE next spring.

dobber's picture

Possibly...but player procurement is a package. I think it needs to be looked at on the whole. If they can find affordable, decent depth players at some positions via FA (and maybe a splash or two), it gives them latitude to play more of a BPA approach on the draft.

flackcatcher's picture

Depth needs are that so great for this team, that the number of picks they have is equally important as is the position were they are picking from. We all knew that a couple of down years were going to happen. Success finally caught of to the Packers. (nuts)

Packers0808's picture

Hate to say it but Graham looks like he is about 80 years old out there lumbering around. Hope it is injury causing but he sure looks old and slow! Play Tonyan and see what he contributes!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

80 years old and a broken hand so he can't catch either.'s picture

graham is in line to be the most productive TE in the rodgers era.
another horrible article on this site.
and..he is playing with a broken thumb.

dobber's picture

Unless they start feeding Graham the ball, he isn't going to hit Jermichael Finley's 767 yds and 8 TDs in 2011.
(in edit)...676 yds and 5 TD in 2009.
(in edit)...61 catches and 661 yds in 2012.

Even RRod had almost 60 catches and 8 TDs in 2015...

Packers0808's picture

Are you sure you are talking about the right receiver?

SJ EC's picture

My question is: how much worse is Tonyan that we don’t play him at this point in the season? I understand that he’s a rookie, but can he really be that much worse? Also, the fact that Graham is less than 100% physically should lend even more traction to Tonyan getting more reps....

dobber's picture

"My question is: how much worse is Tonyan that we don’t play him at this point in the season?"

I would argue that this is still a team trying to win games and get the offense back on track. They're still married to the depth chart and haven't moved to a developmental mindset, yet.

Swisch's picture

We can give more opportunities to Tonyan during these last three games, while not giving up on Graham. Maybe Philbin can figure out a way to give both a good role in the offense.
While I'm reluctant to cut Graham, it's been really hard watching him lumber around the field so slowly, and with passes seemingly so close but so often just off his fingertips.
Let's hope the coaches can figure out if Graham has more to give, or if it's better to move on.

Rebecca's picture

Maybe the Packers are hoping to get some more production from Graham in order to recoup the $$$ they have invested in him. Wouldn’t you play your expensive starter rather than giving an inexpensive, unproven rookie practice time during the regular season?

stockholder's picture

Another Gute disappointment?. Not Happening! We honor contracts in GreenBay. I'd keep Graham. Nobody learns this offense in 1 year. Cutting Cobb , Hendricks, Lewis, will give us all the money we need for a better offense.

dobber's picture

"We honor contracts in GreenBay."

Tell Jordy Nelson that...

It's the modern NFL. Cutting players is a necessary evil and part of the toolbox of roster and cap management--TT didn't do it enough. I suspect that BG is going to be a little more willing to cut bait on players than TT was, but it's easy for him to let players go that he didn't necessarily choose in the first place.

stockholder's picture

Jordy Nelson wasn't signed as a free Agent. They have cut their own. Hawk too. I believe any FA will still be honored.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

It amazes me how terrible NFL caliber coaches are when it comes to being flexible with personnel. Year in and year out we have seen McCarthy blow it with obvious more talented players sitting on the sidelines while less talented players are on the field.

If Graham would be a major cap hit to cut ties with then have him play in situational offense, however Tonyan is significantly faster, more agile, and definitely more athletic. Playing Graham more than Tonyan is akin to playing Williams more than Jones.

If Philbin can't figure this out than he definitely should get the axe as well.

dobber's picture

"If Graham would be a major cap hit to cut ties with then have him play in situational offense, however Tonyan is significantly faster, more agile, and definitely more athletic. "

True, but Jeff Janis was all of those things over Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. I think he's back home bagging groceries in Tawas City.

Coldworld's picture

Janis love is infectious. I felt that we should have done more to find ways to use him too. But other teams didn’t see much opportunity either it seems. Personally I’d be willing to play 4 receivers more. Get Kumerow or EQ in there.

egbertsouse's picture

Great article! It needed to be said. GB can’t keep pretending that over- priced has beens are Pro Bowl players. A 10 year vet can’t learn the offense in 1 year? Puh-lease!!! Some people need to raise the bar a little.

EdsLaces's picture

People can blame the thumb all they want, but dude couldn't catch earlier in the year either. Hes awful. Please move on and get big Bob more reps.

PeteK's picture

If Tonyan was good ,he would be playing. Remember, he was on Detroit's practice squad last year and they let him go. I'm all confused with Graham's cap hit, but we can't take a 7 mil cap hit, 3.5 yes.

PeteK's picture

Just looked it up, 12.6 if he stays or 7.3 if we let him go , we lose 2 mil if cut. I guess it will come down to decisions on Breeland and Matthews ( much lower incentive based contract, 5mil guaranteed. Perry and Cobb should go.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Woodson was slow and unneeded. Cut him.
Peppers had no sacks as a DT. Cut him.
Hyde was not good at slot. Cut him.
Franks had no catches playing 2nd level guard. Cut!

Never fails to amaze and disappoint how little people understand football or how players contribute (or Don't) in un OBVIOUS ways.

Go read the bear coaching staff on who needed to be taken away. Watch the games again.

PeteK's picture

Easy to judge after the fact. All teams make those mistakes, For example. Pats with Cook . Sometimes being let go or a new setting is like "the writing on the wall".

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It was TT and BGs job to judge before the fact.

It's our job to judge after. We love doing our jobs.

4thand1's picture

For the sign big name FA crowd, this is the 2nd big name player that hasn't produced. At least JG is trying, not like that total dick MB last year.

4thand1's picture

hmmmm, looks like someone likes dicks.

Since '61's picture

Among TEs Graham is 10th in the league in both receptions and yards. The big disappointment for me is that he has been a non-factor in the red zone. Now that he is playing!!?? with a broken thumb makes him even less of a factor. Even before he was injured he looked terribly slow out there.

On top of everything else he is not an effective blocker. It looks like we have overpaid for the production that we have seen this season. I would retain Graham only if we can rework his deal to about half of what we're currently paying him. Otherwise, chuck him and take the cap hit.

Jared Cook is an FA again this season, maybe we could bring him back to GB. We should have never let him go in the first place. Thanks again TT, good riddance to you. Thanks, Since '61

EdsLaces's picture

Exactly. When he is running with the ball it's almost as painful as watching Tom Brady run..

JimR_in_SoCal's picture

Since ‘61 says: “Among TEs Graham is 10th in the league in both receptions and yards. The big disappointment for me is that he has been a non-factor in the red zone.”

This nails it. Stats can look good in a vacuum; however, when you consider the impact of a player’s performance on the success of the team, the meaningless of the stats becomes apparent. JG is not performing at a level commensurate with his salary. The Packers would still be 5-7-1 without him. I hope the front office can successfully prune the overpriced and underperforming from the roster in 2019. I’m afraid that task will spill over into 2020. Oh well, Go Pack Go!

packergal's picture

"Jared Cook is an FA again this season, maybe we could bring him back to GB"...

Agree completely, Since 61.
As I recall, Cook required marginal time and not "years" to be productive.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Hey TT and Ball "saved" 5 million on his contract by signing Martellus HeadCase instead.

flackcatcher's picture

He who shall not be named....

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

It's time to draft a TE and quit picking off the scrap heap. Bubba Franks was a 1st in 2000, since then Finley and Rodgers in the 3rd and a couple more 5th and later. That's it.

I wasn't a fan of the Graham signing. Unless I'm reading over the cap wrong, we can gain 5 million in space by cutting him. We're already going into next year 40 million under the cap, if we cut Graham and Perry it gets closer to 50. Cut them both, don't offset any into the future. 50 million will probably be hard enough to intelligently spend, no need to push it off. We can then use the 2020 cap that isn't eaten up by dead money to extend Kenny Clark

Denise Chanterelle's picture

I suspect that even with Jared Cook being a FA again, he will have zero interest in returning to GB after the way he was let go two seasons ago. What a mistake that was by the Packers. If we're voting on Graham, my vote is to cut him. He's a major disappointment from what we were expecting of him.

Samson's picture

However, the old coaching staff & GM cut him loose. -- Gute & a new coaching staff may look a little more appealing to him plus some big bucks.

dobber's picture

It was every bit as much a mistake by Cook's agent. They'd overpriced Cook, and Bennett ended up looking more appealing...oops. We all know how that turned out.

LeotisHarris's picture

Yes, and Cook's agent trying to get that extra $$ by going public to say negotiations with the Packers had broken down. Bad form.

I think it would be great if Cook would return.

HankScorpio's picture

Why would Cook be mad at the Packers? They made him a nice offer that he turned down. So they made someone else a nice offer and he took it.

The Packers are the team that kick-started Cook's career.

Swisch's picture

At the risk of being overwhelmed with dislikes, I'll put forth again Jamaal Williams as a candidate for tight end -- a guy who can catch and block, and who seems to work really hard. He's not really making it at running back, but he's a real football player that I'd like to keep on the team.
Sometimes a little imagination can go a long way. Herb Adderley was a running back in college who went to the Hall of Fame as a cornerback. Paul Hornung, after winning the Heisman as a quarterback, had trouble finding a position in the NFL until Lombardi came along. (An early Happy Birthday to Paul later this month turning 83. He was born the same month and year as my late Dad.)
For those who don't like the idea of Williams at TE, it would be good to know why not. I'd be glad to hear reasons pro and con. I can see Williams catching passes over the middle and blasting though defenders for big gains.

flackcatcher's picture

He's a football player, a good one. Guys like him teams find a way to get on the field. Like Hyde, he keeps making plays for his team. Williams is not flashy, but he tilts the field in ways that do not show on the stat sheet.

Samson's picture

Graham underperforms & is overpaid. -- This roster has too many players (presently) with that same description.

croatpackfan's picture

OK you bunch of genius, are you still thinks John DeFilippo should be Packers new HC?
C'mon experts, let us hear you now!

4thand1's picture

hahaha, Zimmer might be available too.

HugePackersFan's picture

IMHO, if the Packers were to cut Matthews, Cobb, Bulaga, Graham, and Mercedes Lewis in 2019, they would save $40M in Cap Money... and the team would not lose any great impact players as demonstrated by their performance this year. Notice that the Browns won 3 of their last 4 games when Hue Jackson/Todd Haley were fired. Baker said" Finally our OC is giving us plays that we all can buy into". Arod and the entire team looked inspired vs Falcons, due to MM being fired and his pathetic style of play calling was absent. Joe Philbin would do himself a great favor and let Arod call all of his own plays and snap the ball in time on each play called. We have a dearth of young, highly talented players on our team, and they are all going to contribute next season if Murphy/Gute acquire replacements for the 5 above and develop our younger players. I am so pleased that MM is gone, and the Browns should seek a headshrinker if they consider hiring MM to coach them. Go Pack!

Rebecca's picture

“dearth” alert

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Cutting those 5 players = roughly $12M in cap savings, not $40M.

stockholder's picture

The only reason you cut Graham would be to rebuild. It takes a rookie at least a year to learn. Mike ditka was an exception. Gute made the right move. ( 10 mil or not. ) He's still going to be the starting TE for next year. Graham isn't bullet proof. But he's better than any rookie , and is playing hurt. Arron Rodgers will throw to Graham. A Rookie not so much. You want a TE #1? Favre still was not happy with Bubba early in his career. Burnett was taken before Finley. ( Rd 3 ). Graham KNOWS what's expected now. A Rookie with a new coach? I don't think so.

HankScorpio's picture

You're thinking like TT is still the GM. If they cut Graham, they can sign a different vet. They don't have to turn to a rookie.

stockholder's picture

No I'm not. Sign another vet? Cook, Barnett, Kendricks, Lewis, and Graham? I think you can put Richard Rogers on there too. You know what Kendricks and Lewis make right? They won't over-pay the new guy. The offense will change, and so will the demands of the TE. I think most people think , Ronyan can do more. I see Graham and Ronyan next year.

Lare's picture

I assume you mean Ronyan the Barbarian.

Guam's picture

I think we need to find out who our new HC and OC will be before get too deep into the TE discussion. Some coaches love TE's, some love four WR's and our new scheme will determine who we cut and/or draft. Fun discussion, but a touch premature...….

Lare's picture

Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding........... we have a winner!

HankScorpio's picture

I doubt a coach that places much value in a 33 yr old TE that can't run and can't block is going to be getting any interviews.

No matter what the next HC does value, I think the $7 mil in cap savings can buy another player that produces as much or more than Graham has in 2018.

Guam's picture

It is a numbers issue and not necessarily cap numbers. If we hire a HC who loves light ends, we will likely need three on the roster. It will be tough to draft more than one given all of the other needs on the roster. So you have Tonyan and one draftee - who else do you keep? Lewis? Kendricks? Graham? Cut all three and try to find another veteran free agent? Given our recent track record with veteran free agents (Cook, Bennett, Graham, Kendricks, Lewis) I am not confident that route will produce anything better than Graham. I suspect we keep Graham for one more year as the rookie develops and then release him.

If we hire a new HC who favors four wides, you will get your wish and Graham will likely be cut.

The point is, we need to see the new HC and OC before we know.

HankScorpio's picture

Numbers and formations don't win games. Players do. Graham is not a $9 mil player anymore.

The new offense can run an all TE formation for all I care. Graham is not worth retaining on his current contract. If he were to simply forego taking his $5.3 mil roster bonus, it would be feasible to keep him. I don't think he'll do that.

Guam's picture

I agree he is not a $9 million player any more. However it is just not as simple as cutting him. And talk to the LA Rams about numbers and formations versus players - vastly better team with a new coach last year. Coaching matters.

HankScorpio's picture

Yes it is as simple as cutting a player that doesn't bring value that matches his pay. That's the reality of the business of football.

Sure coaching matters. But coaching won't make a player run faster. And Graham has never been a good blocker. I don't see how you scheme him to success.

Guam's picture

The business of football is also about cap dollars, dead money and who can you replace a player with if you cut him. If you cut him, you have $7 million in dead money that directly reduces your cap and your ability to replace him with a free agent who may or may not be better. Sometimes you overpay for what you get, but there aren't good options to replace him (Perry comes to mind). That is also the business of football.

MM's scheme would not help Graham as his scheme was predicated on beating the man opposite you. Other schemes use misdirection, overloads and rub patterns to free up receivers even if they aren't fast. Always better if you can beat your man straight up, but scheme has its place too.

I think we are going to have to just agree to disagree on Graham and see what the future brings.

Wilment's picture

"thought they were getting another Jermichael Finley".....who the hell was watching Graham play? The guy is soft, always has been. After playing in N.O., defenses knew you got physical with him, he dropped balls, got bumped off routes. Finley was a tough competitor As for talking to the media? He has never talked to the media. Im still stunned that the Packers went and got him. They could have offered Jordy a team friendly contract and gotten more production while still keeping Rodgers security blanket around . With the extra cash, we could have probably pried away a certain linebacker that ended up on the bears. Hindsight is always a perfect 2020. Move on from him.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Dallas acquired Amari Cooper for a first round pick after 6 games in 2018. Mid-season. Cooper, with Dak Prescott at QB, has averaged 107 yards per game, 16.1 yards per reception, and has caught 75% of his targets in Dallas.

There is no reason for GB to ever acquire a veteran WR like Cooper mid-season, right? Is it AR? Is it the route concepts? All I know is that Cooper/Prescott and the Dallas coaches have made it work.

Who knows. Maybe AR and Graham can become more dynamic in 2019. I am not thrilled with the idea of going into 2019 with Tonyan and ... a re-signed Kendricks (who has been better lately) and a rookie or FA, or UDFA, who all presumably will need the proverbial year.

I suppose we thus should be drafting WRs and TEs pretty much every year in the top 2 or 3 rounds given the above comments. We can acquire emergency help at RB and OL via FA, except for maybe Center given concerns about sweat and butt height.

PatrickGB's picture

New team, poor HC, bad knee, broken thumb, playing from behind. Who knows, it might all be be true?
I say give JG another year then decide.

Skip greenBayless's picture

This is so simple. You simply resign Jeff Janis and convert him to a tight end. He has all the physical skills and the frame to beef up and still not lose much speed. It's worth a shot. Drafting and signing actual tight ends has not worked since Finley left. I don't want to waste a high draft pick on a tight end like Bubba Franks. Just get Jeff Janis' ass in here and let's finally stop the insanity at tight end. Janis can do this. We've all seen how great this guy is when given the opportunity. All the guy does is make plays every time he touches the ball. Again, what the hell do we have to lose at this point?

Doug Niemczynski's picture


Doug Niemczynski's picture

All I know is the Tight Ends were NEVER USED PROPERLY and it makes m SICK TO MY STOMACH!

Now we have an article about releasing players.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Jared Cook has 825 yards and 6 TDs...with 3 games left?

So, he will probably end up with over 1000 yards and 7 TDs...

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