The Green Bay Packers appeared to be all in on former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham. It was reportedly their first call — or certainly an early call — when the free agent tampering period opened Monday morning.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is in as well. Rodgers and Graham have reportedly talked about playing together before.
Per a friend of Rodgers, yes, these two have had that chat before. Still gonna come down to other factors as well but this is interesting. https://t.co/j9UYpIl3G5
That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, of course. A lot of guys discuss the hypotheticals of playing together one day. However, it seems that Graham is primarily looking at the Packers or a return to his initial team, the New Orleans Saints. Rodgers is obviously a big part of the reason he’s considering the Packers.
While we still consider the Saints the favorite in this chase, Graham could be looking at it this way. How many more years does Drew Brees have left? If Graham wants to ensure he finishes his career with a great quarterback, the Packers might be the more attractive destination.
Ultimately, the “other factors” will primarily be contract-related. The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro is used to getting paid large sums of money to ply his trade. Graham’s last contract averaged $10 million annually and included more than $20 million guaranteed.
I would not expect his next contract to average that much, but he won’t come cheap. Graham will be 32 in November and his production slipped in 2017, when he averaged less than 10 yards per catch (9.1) for the first time in his career. That suggests he’s lost a step.
When the Packers signed Martellus Bennett last year they gave him $7 million annually. Bennett is the same age as Graham. The guy the Packers let walk in free agency — Jared Cook — is at $5.3 million annually. He’s a year younger than the other two.
That said, neither player has the career statistics of Graham. This could be a pricey proposition for the Packers.