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Jimmy Graham

Did Packers Overpay for Jimmy Graham?

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.

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?

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Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.

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3 Comments

  1. PF4L March 28, 2018

    Is water wet?

    This was a bad signing on a few levels, none of which were brought up above.

  2. PF4L March 28, 2018

    The Saints having interest in Graham was reported back in early March by Chris Wesseling.

    But anyway, there is no other way to paint it, Graham was clearly overpaid by the Packers. That isn’t exactly shocking to me. I just don’t see the value to make him the highest paid tight end.

    Everyone the Packers have signed so far had their glory years a few seasons ago. They all went Randall Cobb since 2010….2014-2015.

    Graham had a good season last year in the red zone catching 10 td passes. Jordy had 6 td’s the first 5 games, 14 td’s the year before. I don’t see where we are a better offense because of that move. If they wanted to, they could have reworked Jordy, signed both Mo, and Graham. IF, they wanted to. So they signed him 3 years 30 million (was there a bidding war?)

    Lets talk cash……The first year cap hit is only 5.6 million. Sounds attractive doesn’t it? But we’ve already paid him 11 million before he laces them up. Save now, pay more cap later. Jimmy Graham is now the #1 paid tight end in the NFL. Is he the #1 performing tight end, absolutely not. It’s the Packers Way. You can’t really cut him if he doesn’t perform after year 1 because he has 7.3 mill in dead cap money. So really, he’ll make 22 million in 2 years. Third year you can cut him with 3.6 dead cap. I’m guessing the Saints wanted him in the 5-6 mill/year range.

    Have we been any good at signing free agent tight ends? History says no, but i thought Cook and Rodgers really started to build something back in 2016. We’ll skip Bennett as he’s not worth discussing.

    Lastly, will we use him? Well, if were gonna make him the highest paid, we better use him. If we don’t McCarthy should be fired mid season.

    So we’re paying 35 year old TW 5.2 million this season? Wouldn’t Jordy have stayed for 4 or 5 million on a reworked contract with a 1st year cap friendly number just like all these other guys? Like i said earlier. IF they wanted to keep Jordy, they could have. TW got a raise of over 2 1/2 times what he made last season (did i miss something, was there a bidding war?). The Packers Way.

    So now were in the receiver market i’m reading?….More money to spend?……Interesting.

  3. Hinder March 29, 2018

    Not surprised. They have a history of falling in love with guys and overpaying. Usually it is their own guys, however.