Tight end Jimmy Graham was the Green Bay Packers’ big free agent signing a couple weeks back. The Packers were in on Graham as soon as the free agent window opened.
Many assumed that Graham would return to his first home — the New Orleans Saints. Then the Packers swooped in with what was a substantial and the highest offer. The deal is for three years and $30 million, although the Packers could get out of it after two years. The first year cap hit is $5.6 million, but then those numbers are more than $11 million in the second and third year of the deal.
On Tuesday we found out that the Saints were interested in Graham. He was interested in them, but as is usually the case, money talks.
Sean Payton said Saints were interested in Jimmy Graham and thinks he was interested as well. But that was an example where they had a "price point" and it was exceeded.
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) March 27, 2018
Boy, how things have changed. The Packers used to be the “price point” organization. Now they’re the organization that will actually outbid a team to plug a hole in free agency.
So the question is, did the Packers overpay for Graham, who will be 32 in November?
If you look at the structure of the deal, it works. Graham has a low first-year cap number, which was necessary for the Packers to be able to sign other players this year. That number jumps up over $12 million in year two, but the Packers have a ton of money coming off the books in 2019, notably Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews.
If the Packers released Graham prior to the final year of the deal, they’d save $8 million in salary cap space. So you could look at it as potentially a two-year deal.
Ultimately, the structure of the deal looks sound. The question of whether Graham is worth it will be answered on the field. If he can produce like he did in New Orleans, then he’s no doubt worth it. His career in Seattle was uneven, but the Seahawks didn’t really know how to use the guy.
Will Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers?