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Packers reportedly plan to stick with Jimmy Graham

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Packers reportedly plan to stick with Jimmy Graham

Heading into the offseason, the Packers faced a decison on tight end Jimmy Graham, specifically whether to pay a $5 million roster bonus on March 15th.

It sounds like the decision has been made. 

Graham finished his first season in Green Bay with 55 receptions for 636 yards and two touchdown, while battling a broken thumb for the second part of the year.

Moving on from Graham would have saved the team over $5.3 million in cap space while leaving over $7.3 million in dead money.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (65) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

kevgk's picture

Good or bad, we'll see. I know they wouldn't make this decision unless Lafleur and Hackett feel they can get their couple million $s of production out of him

Hawg Hanner's picture

Heard a rumor he had knee problems that required treatment. This may explain the huge drop-off in athleticism. I have seen the math but I think it's worth the roll of the dice to let this guy run some routes with both him and Rogers back healthy

Guam's picture

If Graham stays, that will change the draft/free agent priorities a bit. I doubt we will see Fant or Hockenson drafted high with Graham around. I think Perry is also due a roster bonus at the same time and no word on him......hmmm. May just be timing or it may be an indicator that they are moving toward renegotiating/releasing Perry.

Bure9620's picture

No, but this TE class is quite deep. Oliver ftom San Jose st., Kaden Smith, Alize Mack, are options in later rounds

PackerAaron's picture

Graham being there shouldn't preclude the selection of a talented TE. The position has long been neglected and traditionally needs a good year or so to develop. Would make sense to have both on hand and then let Graham go next offseason.

Rak47's picture

So true, but other than o-line, DB, and WR every position has been neglected for the most part.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It might also help to give a new guy a season to learn from Graham.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Graham can show Fant how an NFL TE blocks and runs a scramble drill.

Graham is an example of what not to do in some respects.

Tundraboy's picture

Hope there is something to learn from Graham.

Guam's picture

I didn't say Graham would preclude the selection of a TE, I said it would likely prevent a TE pick in the top three picks. Others have noted this is a deep TE class and we could draft one in the later rounds. With all of our other needs and Graham in place, I believe the top three picks will be used elsewhere.

kevgk's picture

graham is not a long term answer, and TE needs depth
look at how hackett and shanahan have used TEs, especially to block. A new guy to mold into the offense wouldnt be surprising.

Hawg Hanner's picture

I'm sorry but I never want to see an Iowa tight end taken in the first round

dblbogey's picture

Hawg Hanner, you were a lousy defensive coordinator for Bart Starr and I believe you are wrong about Hockenson, the Iowa tight end.

Skip greenBayless's picture

I agree. I can't think of a more boring and waste of a first round pick than using it on a tight end. Anything after a third if fine but please no first rounders on tight ends. Was Bubba Franks better than Finley? Hell no.

Dash

Old School's picture

Was Bubba Franks better than Finley? He appeared in more games, scored more TDs, caught more passes and was selected to more Pro Bowls.

Those are facts. Subjectively, Bubba could get his guy blocked in the run game....probably the last good blocking TE we've had.

Better is kind of a subjective word. For me, I want a TE who can get his guy blocked in the run game and score TDs in the redzone. Oh....I want him to stay healthy, too.

LeotisHarris's picture

Way to go, Old School! Bubba doesn't get enough respect, imho. Hard to argue with those pesky facts, even if Finley did work social media effectively and was impressive in his brief career.

Skip greenBayless's picture

"..probably the last good blocking TE we've had."

I agree Old School. He was a very good blocking tight end. He also caught all his td passes at the one yard line and had no speed. That's why I referred to the tight end position as boring and why I wouldn't waste a first for a blocking tight end. Not worth it to me. Finley was in my opinion one of the most talented tight ends since Kellen Winslow of the early 80's until he got hurt. I would take a young healthy Finley over Bubba Franks a thousand times out of a thousand. Finley was the most exciting tight end the Packers had since Gary Lewis. We agree to disagree.

Dash

Old School's picture

Exciting? Sure, I'll give you that. I don't care about exciting. I care about moving the ball and scoring points.

Look, I didn't like the Graham signing, and it wasn't just the money. I'm an Ed West guy; all I want from the TE is a guy who can get his man blocked and maybe catch a short pass or two during the game If that's a one yard reception in the endzone, that's fine with me.

You have ONE ball. Frankly, I think the Packers could gain a lot of yards and score a lot of points with Dave Spriggs playing TE. I think Jones/Williams/ Adams/Cobb/MSV/St. Brown can probably take care of the offense without a pass-catching TE.

But that' JMO. Lots of people seem to think that you've got to have some power-forward streaking down the field to have a good offense I disagree.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

100% Old School! Agreed!

dblbogey's picture

I'm still screaming for Hockenson at pick #30. Hope Gute can hear me. I'm sure I heavily influence Packers decisions with my insight and comments.

The TKstinator's picture

I think that is obvious.

jannes bjornson's picture

Still need a TE with a high pick and another one around #5. You have to Improve the speed at that position.

jannes bjornson's picture

Why not? If Hockenson or Fant are near #30 grab one of them. Get talent, get speed, get young. These are rookie contracts, not the handouts Ted and Russ like to donate to lost causes. You need to have two bonafide playmakers. McCarthy has left the building.

Bure9620's picture

This could mean Perry is gone soon to avoid the March roster bonus.

Old School's picture

Or it could mean that Gutekunst isn't going to gut the team of high priced veterans so he can save money he doesn't need to by playing rookies in their place.

Keeping Graham was not nearly as difficult decision as a lot of you have thought. Gutekunst could give up, say "I screwed up', accelerate the dead money to save the salary. And send the message to every prospective FA that we'll bail in a year.

Additionally, in the last 25 years, Finley's 61 catches in 2012, and Richard Rodgers with 58 in time a TE caught more passes in a Green Bay uniform than Graham did this year. And his yardage total was 5th in Green Bay history. With a broken hand. From a guy that's washed up? Seriously? Washed up Jimmy Graham had as good a season as Finley at his peak?

I think Gutekunst will do the right thing here.

Handsback's picture

It would appear that the coaches feel Graham wasn't given enough opportunities to show what he could do.
It may be the case. In the games I watched, not a lot deep down the middle passes.

marpag1's picture

Crap.

Swigganz's picture

I'm happy to hear he'll be back in GB. We can now look to draft and develop a TE behind Graham. I find that to be a good move instead of having to take a TE high in the draft and expect him to take the reins day 1.

jww061356's picture

Not the worst news. If he is healthy and in a better system, he could best case scenario, good for maybe 800-900 yards, 6-7 TD. Worst case, he is used as a decoy and we draft a TE high.

Skip greenBayless's picture

I don't see how they have any other choice but to keep him. They have nobody else on the roster that's worth a damn. Tonyan maybe but tight ends always take 2 to 3 years minimum to have an impact. I am 100% sure they draft a tight end this year. Hopefully they don't waste a high draft pick on one.

Dash

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The Nick Perry rationale. Except Perry was coming off a very good year. I am not busting your chops, I made the same argument for Perry. Heck, I still want Perry back at a reduced price.

Skip greenBayless's picture

I also want Perry back at a reduced rate. We are in agreement.

Dash

HankScorpio's picture

Whether Graham is on the roster or not, they don't have a TE that is worth a damn. With him on the roster, they have $5.3 mil less cap space to try to find a TE that is worth a damn.

Old School's picture

Harsh words for a guy who had one of the best seasons of any Packer TE over the last 25 years.

Swisch's picture

Even if Tonyan comes through and/or we draft a talented TE who is ready to go, there could be an important role for Graham.
Let's hope the Packers see something regarding improved health/determined attitude/different scheme that may result in a revitalization of Graham.
It's uplifting to see guys bounce back, especially if it's for us.
Go get 'em, Jimmy!

jannes bjornson's picture

I see triple TE bunch formations to provide shields/screens for the running game and passing off the pick plays for short yardage.

Coach JV's picture

I'm okay with this as long as we draft a TE who can block. Blocking is crucial for a TE in LaF's run game... and Graham can't block for $#!+...

The TKstinator's picture

Maybe under LaFleur he’ll suddenly transform into a ferocious blocker.

4thand1's picture

I've always liked the word ferocious . We need more ferocious. We need ferocious blockers, ferocious receivers, ferocious runners, ferocious tacklers, ferocious QB play and ferocious coaching.

PeteK's picture

You're so vicious , but Graham hits like a flower.

LeotisHarris's picture

Great nod to Lou, Pete. He'll hit 'em every hour!

Ferrari Driver's picture

And ferocious fans. You taught me a new word.

Old School's picture

The last TE we had who could get his guy blocked in the run game was Bubba. Graham wasn't signed to run block.

I'm sure we'll spend a last day pick on a TE, or maybe some UDFA. If we drafted a tackle kind of high they could be our #3 TE behind Graham and Tonyan. I mean, he'd be gameday active anyway as a tackle backup.

HankScorpio's picture

It's a shame the Packers are going to saddle ML with Graham. They're tying his hands around his back and hoping he pulls a Houdini.

PeteK's picture

Great, another season of his patty cake blocking. I'll give him credit for playing hurt and hope that in year two he can be a TD threat again.

Bearmeat's picture

Boooooo hissss

meingram23's picture

I have no problem keeping him. Mike's entire offense never utilized the TE position. With Matt LaFleurs offense we might see the Graham red zone touch downs we were hoping for last season. At least give the guy a chance with a coach who utilizes and crafts plays around his players versers stubborn Mike McCarthy.

HankScorpio's picture

MM's offense was perfect for a waste of a roster space like Graham. If you're going to have a bad player, it is best that the offense does not rely on him heavily.

He may look better in ML's offense that ostensibly will use him better. But imagine how much better a guy that can actually run and block would look than a guy that cannot run and cannot block.

cheesehead1's picture

Was never a fan of his hiring in the first place. He’s past his prime by 4 or 5 years IMO and there’s a reason Seattle moved on.

Lare's picture

With all his bonuses Graham will be costing the Packers $12.7 million this next season. That's a lot of money for a slower TE that can't block.

Old School's picture

Who just had one of the best seasons of any Packer TE in the last 25 years.

Tundraboy's picture

Statistically perhaps, but that was not a good looking season at all.

The TKstinator's picture

Yes: stats vs eye test.

Old School's picture

Now, would these be "professional" eyes, who actually get paid to assess talent and performance, or would these be "drinking beer and watching TV" eyes of your run-of-the-mill blowhard?

The TKstinator's picture

What you got against beer?

Old School's picture

Sadly, beer has been a factor in some things that I've said and done that were ……..less than smart.

stockholder's picture

Yes ,it is the right move. Wolf would keep him. We don't know how fast Fant will run yet. This frees up the #30 selection. Te's in the first rd. don't happen that often. Giesicki with all his speed last year, went in the 2nd. You have plenty of Te's after the senior bowl. Packers can easily get one in the 3- or 4th rd. The lions have the same needs as the packers. And are sure to grab one before the packers select @44. TT had this same problem in 2014. He took Rodgers because he was blocked out. Keeping Graham is a good move. Give Lafleur the chance to make this work. Grahams fingers should be good to go.

dblbogey's picture

Fant is way overrated, in my opinion. Combine his numbers over 3 years and you come up with one decent year. He doesn't block, has questionable hands and his character is questionable. His size/speed will cause someone to overdraft him, just hope it's not the Packers.

wildbill's picture

What worried me about Graham last season is that he seemed incapable of making catches above his eye level. That seemed to minimize his height advantage

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Totally great observation Wildbill. Saw the same thing. In fact not sure he ever caught one above eye ball level. Was dreadful!

egbertsouse's picture

It looks like Guter is sticking close to the philosophy of his Uncle Ted. That is, keep highly paid non-producers and hope and pray that they get better because everyone knows that people get faster,more athletic, and healthier as they get older.

Look, there are two ways Packer management can go at this point; throw the bums out and start over or keep all the dinosaurs and plug a few holes with the draft and free agency and cross your fingers that you get 9 or 10 wins and make the playoffs. Is anyone surprised they are choosing the latter?

The TKstinator's picture

I am embarrassed at how much faster, more athletic, healthier, smarter, more humble, and sexier I am at 52 than I was at 22. And I’m sure I’m not the only one here who can claim that!

GBforce's picture

Jimmy will return to relevancy in 2019 and produce in the new offensive scheme. Trust the mission.

LambeauPlain's picture

It would be folly to cut Graham without a ready replacement on deck.

Even playing in Stubborn MMs stupid perimeter passing game, Jimmy was still the teams SECOND leading receiver.

I am comfident ML will employ a HEALTHY Graham in more efficient, effective ways.

And I would also keep M. Lewis, Tonyan, let Kendricks walk, and still draft the blocking, pass catching Hockenson at #30 if he is available. Fant is a self centered tease.

Ferrari Driver's picture

If that's the decision, to keep Graham, I'm disappointed that they are going to overpay so badly for a player who is a shell of what he was previously. I would rather restock with a younger TE who may have some upside. With all the changes in coaching and weaknesses we have at positions, I don't expect to do very well this year, but I do have high hopes to be in the playoffs and perhaps more the following year. I certainly can't see Graham being on the team for the 2020 season.

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