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The Jimmy Graham Dilemma

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The Jimmy Graham Dilemma

Jimmy Graham’s numbers stunk in 2018 and if you don’t believe it, you can ask him yourself. “My numbers suck,” Graham told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky leading up to Green Bay’s week 14 game against the Chicago Bears. Now, after what feels like a wasted season, the Packers have to decide if it’s worth holding onto the 32-year-old tight end for another year. 

When Graham was signed to a three-year, $30 million contract last March, Green Bay was expecting more than 636 yards and two touchdowns from the former All-Pro. He was supposed to provide more stability to a position the team hadn’t seen much production from since the days of Jermichael Finley, but instead, the rumors from his previous stint with the Seattle Seahawks seemed more valid. Graham was a shell of his former self.

He used to be a matchup nightmare for defenses given his size and speed-- too big for defensive backs and too quick for linebackers. Now though Graham is his own worst enemy. He’s clearly lost a step and is no longer the big play threat he once was over the middle. The Packers offense saw no improvement in the red-zone which is where Graham was considered his most lethal. 

After leading the NFL with 10 red-zone touchdowns in 2017, Graham only saw nine targets for four catches in the red-zone this past season. 

In theory, Graham would at least garner more attention from opposing defenses allowing for other players on offense to make an impact, however, this argument is really only plausible for Davante Adams who caught the second most passes in a season by a Packers receiver ever. Even then you could argue Adams produced those numbers very much on his own.

So, where does Graham factor into Green Bay’s future?

The team could actually add close to $9 million towards their future cap by cutting Graham this offseason, but that would leave Robert Tonyan as the only tight end on the roster. The Packers are already set to lose Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis to free agency which would mean a complete overhaul at this position. Again.

Instead of signing another potential free agent bust, Green Bay may just want to bite the bullet and hold onto Graham for another season or possibly the remaining two years on his deal if he bounces back in a new system. They should also add someone through this year's draft so he can start developing right away.

Head coach Matt LaFleur could have his own thoughts on how to use Graham which would probably be very different than Mike McCarthy.

After the 2019 season ended, Lewis and former Packers tight end Martellus Bennett appeared on Yahoo Sports’ Mostly Football and discussed how McCarthy’s system poorly utilized tight ends. 

“As a tight end, I think McCarthy’s offense was one of the worst offenses you could be in as a tight end,” Bennett said. To which Lewis responded, “no question.” 

Last season, LaFleur did not have the benefit of working with a talented tight end with the Tennessee Titans after three-time Pro-Bowler Delanie Walker suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the regular season opener. 

Perhaps he has something in store for Graham that can squeeze the most out of his remaining years in the NFL while also adding someone through the draft. Or he can take the free agency route starting from scratch and use the draft as well.   

Whatever they decide, the Packers need to get the tight end position settled so they do not have to worry about it for another offseason. 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (114) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Samson's picture

Can LaFleur make Graham run faster and with better hands? --- That's the question.
I'd be more excited with a higher draft pick in 2019 at the TE position. A plan for the future instead of another year of futility from the TE position. (Prediction: --Look for the Rams versus the Chiefs in two weeks)

CAG123's picture

You don’t necessarily need speed to play TE Witten, Gates and Watson are good examples of guys that still brought value to a team despite being way past their prime. Graham is younger than all of them they should keep him and draft his eventual replacement.

Rak47's picture

Graham needs to lose some weight. He has played most of career at 265 lbs and looks like he's now 270-275 lbs. He needs to lose 15-20 lbs to help regain some of his former speed and agility. He doesn't need the weight to block, he's needed to stretch the middle of the field and catch passes.

carlos's picture

Quick routes immediately when he’s off the line. Use his height and get a little bit at a time. Will open up other players.

The TKstinator's picture

All the offensive wizardry in the world is offset by inaccurate passes, accurate passes that are dropped and/or deflected and end up as interceptions, false starts by O-linemen, missed blitz pickups, and simply getting whupped by the player across the LOS.

Maybe MLF has a good idea if he can utilize Graham better through design, but if he can no longer catch, jump, run crisp routes, and has lost his agility, GB should move on.

What does MLF think of Tonyan?

HankScorpio's picture

"Maybe MLF has a good idea if he can utilize Graham better through design, but if he can no longer catch, jump, run crisp routes, and has lost his agility, GB should move on."

Exactly. If ML has a scheme that helps TEs, it will help a cheaper TE. No need to pay $9 mil for a 'system' TE.

CAG123's picture

If you’re going to have to pay him anyway then it is then you’re just paying a TE that’s not even in the system.

HankScorpio's picture

They don't have to pay him anyways.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Plenty of TE available would be huge upgrades.

Go get Maxx Williams.
Take a look at Troy Niklas.
There are other talented TEs who were 1st or 2nd rd picks the past 4 or 5 years who didn't pan out because of bad offenses systems QBs health etc.... take a look.

Look at how Eric Ebron looked on a real offense away from Detroit.

Samson's picture

I agree. --- There are better options. -- Gute will get it right this time around.

I bleed green more's picture

If he is cut what does he get paid.

HankScorpio's picture

If Graham is cut, he won't even get cab fare to Austin Strobel Airport. He has no guarantees remaining so he'll collect $0.00

Nick Perry's picture

HUH....Well whats that $7,333,334 in "Dead Cap" money for 2019 next to Grahams name on Sportac then? Pretty sure TRG wrote something just last week about the cap ramifications of cutting Perry and/or Graham.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Both are true, Nick. GB doesn't have to pay Graham any more money. GB paid Graham a whopping $13.25M in cash in 2018, but only accounted for $5.9M on the books. If GB doesn't cut Graham then his contract calls for GB to pay Graham $9M more for 2019. I don't think the $7.33M dead should be a consideration. That's done and can't be changed. The only question is whether to pay Graham $9M in 2019.

I can't think of an everyday example. I can think of one that happened to me. I bought a piece of equipment for $13,250. I thought is was neat and advertised it heavily but I only got one job due to having this unit, and I managed to use it on some others to show it off to potential clients but I could have used an older unit that I've had for years. So I got some value but no where near what I'd hoped for or expected. Now it is year two, and I have to decide whether to pay a $9K software licensing fee. I am not required to pay for the software licensing, but without it my new toy (piece of equipment) is completely useless. I have an offer from someone to buy the equipment for $5,333. What should I do? To add a wrinkle, the software company will allow me to pay a $5,000 non-refundable fee on March 15, $250 more on June 1, which will keep the equipment functional and allow me to show it off at some trade shows (a/k/a OTAs, Training Camp and preseason games) so I can try to judge whether I will get any jobs due to the equipment during my big season, but experience tells me that judging how things look and sound at trade shows does not usually translate to getting jobs during my big season. I have to pay the final $3,750 to the software company on September 2 or my new toy becomes useless again.

* The numbers have been changed to fit Graham and to protect my blood pressure. (I didn't have a big software licensing fee, just some routine maintenance.) I kept that %#!% thing, deducting its cost over 5 freaking years, and cursing it because I never got another job due to it. Used it on some but I didn't need it to do the job. [Deductions aren't the same as credits just to remind folks.]

HankScorpio's picture

"Well whats that $7,333,334 in "Dead Cap" money for 2019 next to Grahams name on Sportac then? Pretty sure TRG wrote something just last week about the cap ramifications of cutting Perry and/or Graham"

TGR did write about it and what he wrote matches what I wrote.

Dead Money is an accounting gimmick to spread out when a previous payment hits the books. Think of a multi-year contract like a fixed asset for a business. The signing bonus is the asset's purchase price and the other contractual payments (salary, roster bonus, workout bonus, etc) are required ongoing maintenance to make the asset work. Once the asset is purchased, the entire purchase price must be allocated vs the cap eventually but not necessarily all at once.

The signing bonus (purchase price) is transferred from buyer (team) to seller (player) at the time of purchase in one lump sum. However, for the purpose of reconciling expenses, the purchase price is divided into equal parts for the duration of the contract. One part hits the cap for each year of the contract.

Early termination of the contract eliminates the maintenance (salary, etc) and makes the asset non-functional (ie the player is cut). But the purchase price that has not already been allocated vs the cap is immediately applied to it (ie "dead money") so all credits and debits line up and the books are balanced.

That's a bit of an over-simplification. Guaranteed salary or roster bonus can complicate things. The June 1 designation is another complication. Portions of SB can be recovered in some situations such as the player retiring. TGR could probably list off another dozen complications. The CBA is a rather large document. But that's close enough of an analogy.

The signing bonus clause of the CBA is how the Packers gave Aaron Rodgers $66 mil in 2018 but only counted $20.9 vs their cap. For most of the remainder of the deal, Rodgers will collect less in cash than his yearly cap hits to make up the difference between $66 and $20.9.

Jonathan Spader's picture

For Ebron it wasn't just leaving Detroit. Andrew Luck really is a special talent. Look at TY Hilton with Luck and without him. They actually got an OL for the 1st time in Luck's career in 2018. Even made an average RB like Marlon Mack look like a stud.

Barnacle's picture

Overweight Graham is not worth $9,000,000 next year. He screwed us once, shame on him(and Gute and Ball). Some seem to think our new HC would be smarter than the still unemployed McCarthy. I sure hope so, but that still doesn’t, make Graham worth another $9,000,000..

If Gute can not find better players for $9,000,000 per year, maybe Gute needs to read up on Belichek methods to allocating Cap dollars. We can not change past foolish contracts, but we certainly do not have to throw more money at these mistakes.

Coach JV's picture

The biggest problem with Graham is that he cannot block.
In LaF's system, with both run and pass options, a TE is going to have to block. Both pass block and run block. Graham can do neither.

Kicked to the curb...

Monsmoy's picture

Agreed - That is why I think they will have to draft Irv Smith or TJ Hockenson at 44 or before.

Tarynfor12's picture

The digging for reasons/excuse to retain certain players will leave you with nothing but a bigger hole than you had when you first signed/retained these players.

You're in search of an ability that isn't there and though it may have been once, it has now disappeared into fantasy, where one either lives in the past version or hopes to relive it in the future withe those who caused it.

Any of these players, Matthews, Perry, Grahman and Cobb will give you a glimmer of hope by looking able for a short time and in non game changing ways, and then the bottom falls out and you're back screaming as to why they were kept in the first place.

Accept that the best thing is to unload the dead weight and plant new seeds, as the new can't be/do any worse than that which you over paid for to be begin with.

A new culture needs new talent...period. It seems that some who demanded new can't part with the old for fear of losing...they've been losing more and more...let's start winning by making winning choices in players.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

T,
Very well stated!

Since '61's picture

Can’t say it any better or more accurately. There is no dilemna, chuck him. Thanks, Since ‘61

Dash Riprock's picture

Chuckin' ay!! I agree.

Dash

splitpea1's picture

Couldn't agree more; the Packers need to move on from as many has-beens as possible and get younger. The problem is that it isn't our money. But hopefully the front office has learned it's lesson about signing or re-signing players who are either injury-prone or are in the twilight of their careers.

Spud Rapids's picture

I don't know... i don't think you can ignore McCarthy sucked at utilizing TE's in his offense. Miscast players can make a difference with a new regime. I say cut ties with him if you can find talent elsewhere and that means don't "reach" in the draft

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree, Spud. I also think this take is too all or nothing. Graham didn't have zero value. He had a decent amount, presumably enough value that GB can't just sign the next UDFA TE and get the same production. Sure, GB overpaid for Graham, but cutting him does indeed create a hole that needs to be filled.

Do we have more holes than can be filled in FA and the draft? Yes, we probably do (unless Gute hits pretty big on his first 6 picks and make no mistakes in FA. So far in FA he is batting about 20%.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

I agree with y'all but wait till a particular poster brings up the tired excuse Graham was in top 10 for receptions in 2018. LOL!

Statistics can be used for lying and manipulation! Tape does not lie! Graham cannot run and separate, jump, block, and has questionable hands at best. He has lost it! Cut him!

Doug Niemczynski's picture

12th pick on Ty Hockenson?
Some mock drafts have Detroit a possibility of taking him at #8

Should we sign M.Burnett back?
He wants to be released from Steelers.

stockholder's picture

No. Hockenson is not better than Fant. He blocks better. He does have hands. Not a threat. M. Burnett would be a bargain. But he never was a game changer. I'd decline. We need better from the safety positions again. Why did Pittsburgh move him to Lb? They had to not be happy with him a SS.

dblbogey's picture

Disagree. Hockenson was easily better than Fant at Iowa. Fant's size/speed/combine numbers will blow away scouts but I wouldn't touch him until rd 3. He's a boom or bust, Hockenson will be a player. Certainly not worthy of #12 pick, but I'd take Hock at #30.

Rak47's picture

"Some mock drafts have Detroit a possibility of taking him at #8"
Fan sites don't count, lots of fools have no clue as to how to grade players and simply mock players by stats. No respectable pro site has Hockenson going in round one. I've seen him mocked anywhere from second round to the fourth round which is much more accurate.

stockholder's picture

#8? And thats just crazy. I saw that! Ebron was everything, and taken over Becham. Big Mistake!! Then last year we had Mike Geisecki go to Miami @42 last year. 6'6. Ran 4.55. His stats were nothing special.

The TKstinator's picture

Now hold on there, mister. ALL GB DB’s who leave and go to another team INSTANTLY turn into all-pros. So I think you need to check your facts re: Burnett.

dobber's picture

Ladarius Gunter raises hand, "Still waiting!"

Tom Legener's picture

All I have to say is I would NOT put a whole lot of stock into Marty B's analysis.
As for Graham, we're cleaning house. Thanks for the attempt, and bring on the free agent and draft candidates.

CAG123's picture

Why not? Did you play in this offense? What TE has produced since Finley retired? The facts are MM offense hasn’t been that TE friendly and I’m not sure if that was because Philbin left or because Finley retired but you can even look back on his career and say man this guy should have been putting up waaaaay better numbers. Finley in NE or NO would have been a perennial 800 yard 8-10 TD beast.

Jonathan Spader's picture

The memory of Finley has GREATLY exaggerated his abilities. He had 1 decent year in 2011 in with 8 TDs and less than a 60% completion %. He didn't help the Packers win the SB in 2010. If you think Graham has stone hands go back and look at tape on butterfingers Finley. Fans always underappreciate the players we have and exaggerate the abilities of players we had.

Finley was FAR from a TD machine. He had 20 in his total career. The 1 thing he was good for was YAC if he didn't drop the football. Like Graham Finley was also useless as a blocker. At least Graham is still extremely tall. He will have another year to connect with Rodgers. Most of Graham's success will be on Rodgers looking like Rodgers again.

dblbogey's picture

Agree. Finley flashed, but was inconsistent and had injury issues. His greatness has been greatly exaggerated.

Tarynfor12's picture

Some fans are so enamored by what Finley never actually did.

The TKstinator's picture

Such as, he has never been in my kitchen.

dobber's picture

But did he ever land his best friend in jail for delivering the mail for him while he had a cold?

The TKstinator's picture

I think so.
I think his friend also painted over the yellow stripes to create an extra wide “luxury” lane on the highway.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

TE- TJ Hockensen is money. Catches virtually everything thrown in his direction. He blocks better. Noah Fant has all the athletic ability in the world - needs to concentrate better on each play because he will continue to be a target on every opponents defensive plan.

I am excited to watch both of them this year.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I say Hockenson and you say Fant.... We shall see !!
I wont forget Stockbroker.

Rak47's picture

If they go TE it may not be either of them, there are a ton of good TE's coming out this year. Jace Sternberger could easily go before Fant and Hockenson, Irv Smith and Caleb Wilson could also end up in Green & Gold.

stockholder's picture

Hoekenson should be good. But= Remember Jackson and chumera. They had to get Jackson for the deeper threat. Deeper! And Fant can get high like a basketball player. The problem with Fant may be a run in with a coach. But Rodgers would like either. I Just like the guy that can get down field. It would be OK by me if we got both.

Rak47's picture

If you like Fant Stockholder, then check out Jace Sternberger he's 6'5 255 lbs and runs like a deer. He catches everything thrown his way and had highest rank by PFF among all TE's after leading the Nation in TD catches [ at, TE ] and he was second in yards in the country [ at, TE ]. Was also consensus All-American, had 48 catches for 832 yds and 10 TD's for Texas A&M this year. Both he and Fant should put up excellent numbers at the combine.

stockholder's picture

Yes. Another good TE coming out. The packers use to have a connection to Texas A&M.

Bure9620's picture

It's difficult to justify keeping Graham, may as well take the dead money hit and save a little cap room. Move on from Graham and Perry with a June 1st cut designation.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Hehe

Coach JV's picture

Yeah... honestly speaking, with Hackett as the OC and the new focus on the run game, we need a different kind of TE. We'd be better off re-signing Lewis for vet. min. and having him mentor Tonyan and a stud rookie in this type of system. Lewis played in it with Hackett in Jax and would be helpful in that area.

HankScorpio's picture

Graham said his numbers stunk in 2018. He had more yards and better YPC than he did in 2017. He also caught a higher % of balls thrown his way in 2018 compared to 2017.

I don't see any dilemma. He should be cut and the $9 mil should be spent elsewhere.

sonomaca's picture

I’d like to see them continue to use the “Triplet” draft strategy, but this year on TE’s. Pick three in rounds 4 thru 7, and hope that at least one is a winner. It worked with RB’s two years ago, and with receivers this past year.

TT pioneered this strategy, and Gute continued it. This allows for higher picks to be used on premium positions, such as EDGE, corner, and offensive tackle. I think it’s brilliant, and I’m guessing other teams will copy it.

Fountaintown's picture

TT didn’t pioneer that strategy, Ron wolf did when he drafted 3 cb’s back to back in the same draft

The TKstinator's picture

I think Adam pioneered it when he picked 3 straight apples in that garden of Eden.
(A real hotbed of talent.)

Gort's picture

Need O-linemen more than TE. 2019 draft needs to be big uglies, lots of them. More O than D, but either way need better linemen.

NitschkeFan's picture

If the article is accurate and the team gains $9 million in cap space, I would suggest that the combination of a draft pick on TE and a free agent of equal or greater ability than Graham, could be had for much less than $9 million.

That makes it a no-brainer, good-bye Jimmy.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Not sure where the 9 mil number comes from but I think that is probably wrong. "Over The Cap" says if they cut him before June 1 they'll take 7.3 mil cap hit and save 5.3 mil in 2019. the total saving for 2019 and 2020 would be 13.3 mil.

dblbogey's picture

There would be a whole lot of dead money involved if he's released. Paying him 7-9 million not to play hurts.

HankScorpio's picture

They are not paying him that money. They already paid it when he signed the contract. It's water under the bridge now. If they let that past mistake guide them, they will blow another $9 mil in cap space and a spot on the 53 by keeping him when it is pretty clear he's washed up. Dead roster spots are worse than dead cap space.

sonomaca's picture

Well said. It’s a Gute error. Let’s sed if he is willing to admit it.

Lare's picture

What people need to remember is that if the Packers cut players like Perry or Graham before March 14th (regardless when it is designated) they don't pay them a penny after that. The remaining dead money is from the prorated portion of their signing bonus which they've already received.

dobber's picture

True, but what does it matter if it's new money or pro-rated signing bonus? It's still money they can't use to pay someone else.

Lare's picture

True, but they can use the money saved on the salary cap (difference between this year's salary plus bonuses offset by the accelerated portion of the signing bonus) to pay someone else. They'd have a fair amount if they designate one or both of them after June 1st.

The TKstinator's picture

@dobber: You mean I can’t have it?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Dobber: dead money is money ALREADY paid to guys who are no longer on the roster. There is no functional difference between wasted money and dead money: both mean the team paid but got no production.

You can ascribe the following to poor player evaluation (or hyperbole) but if GB keeps Graham for 2019, GB has to pay him $9M more. If he just sucks so bad that he is a healthy scratch for all 16 games, his remaining $7.33M dead money is reduced by the strict definition to $3.66M, but it is just as wasted, only now GB has wasted the $9M it paid for 2019. It is likely that Graham provides some production if he is here in 2019, so not all of the $9M is likely to be wasted, but I think quite a bit will be.

What I am trying to say is that the main calculation should be whether Graham will produce enough to justify payment of $9M in 2019. it might be fair to think that GB should pay Graham $9M even if GB only expects $6M worth of production if that makes us a playoff contender where the alternative is starting Tonyan, who ends up providing replacement level production but is cheap. That is, Tonyan just isn't good enough to put GB over the top.

Dawg0808's picture

You can buy a bucket of cement almost anywhere, we don't need a guy who runs in one!

Bure9620's picture

So according to overthecap, with a Post June 1 release designation, Jimmy Graham would have about a $3.3 million dead money hit and a cap savings of $9 mil. Don't know if that would be possible.

HankScorpio's picture

It is possible. But I would not because I would be using that designation to cut Perry. There are two issues at play with the June 1 designation. 1) It pushes cap to 2020 (that $3.3 mil in Graham's case) 2) The contract is held on the books until June 2, which is well past the FA frenzy of March.

The alternative is to take the entire hit on Graham in 2019 and gain about $5.7 mil in cap space for 2019 for immediate use. There would be no 2020 hit for Graham in that case. They could spend right to the cap in FA, knowing that $11 mil from Perry's June 1 designation is coming free to cover the 2nd half of the calendar year, including signing the rooks, replacing guys that go on IR, and any late additions or extensions

Bure9620's picture

Yes agree Hank, Perry is the priority. I wonder what cap room they would need to sign the FAs they want. They could wait to finalize the rookie class contracts until June as well.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Each team gets two June designations. It is perfectly legal to release both Perry and Graham with June 1 designations per year. I wouldn't do that: I would release one straight up in March and the other in March with a June designation, but that's just me.

maxximus's picture

Best to just move on and use the money on either OL, OLB, or cheaper TE depth. Use a the Saints pick or their 2nd rounder on an impact TE in the draft.

The TKstinator's picture

First name “Gluteus”?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Maxximus Dickus?

dobber's picture

Biggus...

He has a wife, you know...

Spock's picture

Not sure how to add the Michael Palin acting "lisp" to the "Biggus Dickuss" name but I will always remember the unknown guard sucking in his checks to vast comedic affect in that scene from "A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum". Hilarious. Apologizes are in order to you, maxximus, no offense intended by anyone toward you I am certain!! -Just brought back a funny memory from the old film.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, Spock. I googled that word and there are a number of perfectly respectable companies, like Maxximus Environmental. The Maxximus Forcible Entry Bar, OTOH, perhaps brings up unfortunate associations.

Since91's picture

How about sign Jared Cook and draft one of the Iowa guys or Smith?

cheesehead1's picture

Agree with others that Finley was overrated, average at best with stone hands. I’d let Graham go, wasn’t a fan of him in Seattle as I watched many games here in the NW. Gute’s foray into free agency didn’t work out too well IMO. Graham, Lewis and Wilkerson (injured) did not do much of anything. Coming “close” on trades (Mack) doesn’t count. We need impact players like him or Clay in his prime. Close doesn’t cut it. Still have faith in our new GM as he builds his team going forward, but hope Gutekunst chooses more wisely with the next free agency wave. We have to be smart and hit big in the draft.

Qoojo's picture

By Bennett's own analysis, that makes Finley 10x the TE that Bennett ever was.

Lphill's picture

Keep him one more season , draft a tight end 2 nd round maybe, i think he can do better under new coaching . A lot did not go right this season let’s give him a fresh start.

nostradanus's picture

A. Cut bait with Graham

B. Use cap savings to sign a young vet who is a blocking TE

C. Draft one high

There, all fixed

That is all ....

The TKstinator's picture

Being a GM is SO EASY!!
;)
~~~~

Swigganz's picture

I'd like to see GB hang onto Graham this year and use a 2nd or 3rd on a TE. I'm personally hoping either Irving Smith Jr or T.J. Hokenson joins our team this spring.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Tevin Coleman - RB
Would be a sweet FA pickup!!!

Lancer's picture

LaFleur knows how Coleman fits in his offense from his days coaching in Atlanta. He would be great added threat on third down.

Coach JV's picture

Saints lose... looks like we will have the #30 pick!

Old School's picture

Since 2000, we have had three TEs who caught 50 or more passes in a season.

Bubba Franks and Richard Rodgers each did it once, and Jermichael Finley did it three times.

Jimmy Graham made it 4 this year when he caught 55 passes. Only Richard Rodgers (58) and Finley (61) have caught more in a single season.

Now, if all the narratives about him are true, it simply wouldn't have been possible for him to achieve this. Bad coach, injured QB, injuries at WR, dysfunction, blah blah blah....and yet Graham was our #2 receiver and had one of the best seasons of ANY Packer TE over the last 18 seasons.

I get that some people expected more. I also get that they'd like the Packers to run the organization in a way that we can just bail on contracts when a guy has a down year. I'm wondering how FAs would feel about signing with Green Bay if it becomes apparent that we'll cut you after a year if we're unhappy? I'm wondering about dead money's affect on the cap.

This nonsense about slow, bad hands, blah blah blah.....this is just blather. His catch percentage was like .05 less than Rodgers' completion percentage (yeah, amazing that those two could be related, huh?)
He was 4th on our team on yards from scrimmage and played out the end of this disappointing season with a broken hand instead of going on the injured list.

I think if Gutekunst starts signing FAs, then tries to get out of it a year later, he's going to look bad and it'll affect our future FA dealings. Nobody put a gun to our head and said "You Must Sign Graham" and nobody paid the money. Obviously, the people in charge (Murphy, Gutekunst, Ball) thought getting Graham at that price was a good deal.

We should keep Graham, keep Tonyan, get a guy in FA. I'd also use an OT as the 4th TE. After the 2019 season, there is an 'out' built into the contract and we can change directions then if we wish. Releasing him now makes us look cheap and erratic, IMO.

Bure9620's picture

Yes strong points Old School. Graham's drop percentage is less that many think, primarily because his drops were in "crunch" time and on long pass plays so thus more visible. The problem is red zone production. Even Seattle utilized his red zone skills. 2 TDs??? This is also on McCarthy and Rodgers but this IS why we signed Graham. 2 TDs is inexcusable for Graham. He can go get 50/50 balls but Rodgers did not throw many 50/50 balls.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Saw Graham drop many 50/50 balls. Very sad!

With his size there should never be a 50/50 contested pass but with no longer separation ability or leaping ability there are a lot of 50/50 passes thrown to Graham.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

That is well argued and would get points in a debate. James Jones put up 890 yards in 2015 and was out of football in 2016 because all 32 teams believed their eyes instead of his stats. Richard Rodgers did put up some numbers in GB, but he all along was terrible and always should have been a #3 or #4 TE. He was out of football for a fair amount of time in 2018, and finally caught on with Philly where he played 42 snaps this season.

RR wasn't hurt. He didn't get any slower. 1 reception for 7 yards in 2018. As far as I am concerned, 1 Rec, 7 yards should have been his career stats in GB. [Okay, that's a little harsh.] It shows the dysfunction in GB more than anything else.

albert999's picture

NFL has to start reviewing Championship games
THATS ridiculous

albert999's picture

it changes sony people’s lives

The TKstinator's picture

Michel

albert999's picture

so many

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Patriots again to the SuperBowl. ...makes me want to puke my guts out.

The TKstinator's picture

Go back to bed.

Donster's picture

McCarthy's system was not TE friendly. Graham was a mistake to sign in the first place. TT should have known that when Seattle didn't want him back. Cut him, use the money on someone else.

Pack should try, and I do mean try, as they seem to get outbid on the better players, a TE. Then draft one.

Jared Cook would be a possibility. If TT didn't piss him off enough not to want to come back.

Maxx Williams, C.J. Uzomah, Jesse James come to mind.

Using Fant or Hockenson as examples, do you use your second first round pick on either one if they are there? Rookies more often then not don't set the world on fire their first year. Especially skilled offensive players.

HankScorpio's picture

"Using Fant or Hockenson as examples, do you use your second first round pick on either one if they are there? Rookies more often then not don't set the world on fire their first year. Especially skilled offensive players."

I would definitely be open to using either 30 or 44 on TE, even knowing that rooks often need a year or two to adjust to the NFL. I would not necessarily confine myself to Fant and Hockenson. There are other good TEs in the class like Irv Smith, Kaden Smith and Jace Sternberger, to name a few. Or so I've read from people that watch college players much more closely than I do. And maybe double up on TE at some point in this deep pool of draft-eligible TEs. I'm looking to fix TE for the next 5 years this off-season. That's a tall order but with a deep pool of talent worked correctly, it is doable.

I'd also like to see them double up on OL by the time their 2nd 4th is done (#118). And get their slice of the deep pool of defensive front 7 talent in this draft class.

That's all without seeing how the board looks at the time of selection, so it is subject to change. If there is big value elsewhere I would never look a draft gift horse in the mouth. :)

Bure9620's picture

Yes Hank, I would argue the TE class is even deeper than that with guys like Alize Mack from ND, Jake Breeland from Oregon, so with that much depth do they go for 2 Edge Rushers in the 1st or a if a WR like Harry NKeal is there do they go that route? Maybe grab 2 TE later in the 3rd or 4th.

Bure9620's picture

In addition, I would not rule out the possibility the Packers draft a RB, and draft one higher than they have recently. It sounds like ML wants to run the ball more to take pressure off Rodgers. Do they draft a guy like David Montgomery in the 2nd round?

dobber's picture

Certainly the analysts think the Packers will be looking for a RB who is fast to the edge to mirror what the 9ers, Rams, Saints, Falcons have done with their RBs.

PeteK's picture

We need to protect the franchise, O lineman is a must with 30 . By the way, why isn't the Saints pick 29?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

NE/LAR will be 31/32 depending on who wins. NO and KC lost so they will be 29th and 30th. NO went 13-3 while KC went 12-4, so KC gets the better draft pick because their record was worse.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

It may be that drafting a TE can wait until the 3rd or later due to the depth out there. Depends on if there is a run on TEs and how much depth there is, etc.

Spock's picture

"McCarthy's system was not TE friendly." This is something that seemed so glaringly strange. MM's player position when he played football was...TE. He often complained that TT wasn't getting him one. Then, we he got several tight-ends in one year he barely utilized ANY of them on the field. A head scratcher to me.

fthisJack's picture

as I understand it, the Packers have some leverage with Graham. he doesn't get a dime more from the Packers if he's cut. so does he want to come back to the Packers on a team friendly deal or does he want to hit the FA market and hope teams think he was misused by MM and get another sweet deal? put the ball in his court. if he doesn't want to play...bu..bye!

Bure9620's picture

He's under contract and does not hit the FA market unless cut.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed for the most part. Graham gets $9M in cash this year. What's his FMV if released? Less, but how much less and can he get a new multi-year deal that with signing bonus gets him $9M cash? I think probably not, but he'd get something, I suppose.

Bure9620's picture

Round 1 Pick 19 (TENN): Harry, NKeal, WR, Arizona State (A-)
Round 1 Pick 32: Cajuste, Yodny, OT, West Virginia (A-)
Round 2 Pick 12: Jones, Dre'Mont, DT, Ohio State (A)
Round 2 Pick 19 (TENN): Winovich, Chase, DE, Michigan (A)
Round 3 Pick 11: Hooker, Amani, FS/SS, Iowa (A+)
Round 3 Pick 18 (TENN): Hockenson, T.J., TE, Iowa (A+)
Round 4 Pick 12: Smith, Kaden, TE, Stanford (A+)
Round 4 Pick 16: Snell Jr, Benny, RB, Kentucky (A+)
Round 5 Pick 12: Stidham, Jarrett, QB, Auburn (A+)
Round 6 Pick 15 (MIA): Smith, Cameron, ILB, Southern California (A+)
Round 6 Pick 23 (OAK): Evans, Bobby, OT, Oklahoma (A+)
Round 7 Pick 7 (CLE): Johnson, Isaiah, CB, Houston (A+)

DD's picture

Graham is overweight, slow, and has no desire anymore. He's coasting now. Release him now! Keep Lewis, Tonyan, and draft a TE.

White _tornado's picture

The only way to get better is to get rid of the nonperformers. The fragile 5 and Graham need to be shown the door. All these guys are doing is getting in the way of someone who wants to play and contribute to the team.

The whole culture in Green Bay needs changing. Guys who have been given a free pass even though they cant stay off the trainers table need to go.

CM3, Bulaga, Cobb, King, Perry and others, thank you for your service, but your services are no longer needed.

Did any of you see the interview where King said "I dont know why people think i'm injury prone, ive had a couple issues and then some soft tissue things, but everone has those" please!!!!

Jonathan Spader's picture

What about that Rodgers guy? With all of his hamstring problems and broken collarbones! What a pansy.~~~~~

Tundraboy's picture

Draft a TE, even two. That's a must. Depending on which FAs are available, consider cutting Graham.

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