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Could Jimmy Graham Be Out After One Season?

Tight end Jimmy Graham hasn’t brought what the Green Bay Packers expected him to this season. The Packers signed him to a three-year $30 million deal in free agency, thinking he would be the big-time tight end the Packers have long lacked. After catching 10 touchdowns in 2017, they thought he’d be a terror in the red zone.

Graham hasn’t been bad in 2018, but he’s not the top-tier tight end he once was. Still a big target, Graham just isn’t as fast as he once was. Graham has 33 catches for 439 yards and two touchdowns through nine games. That’s 13.3 yards per catch. Those numbers are respectable, but Graham clearly isn’t what he once was.

As the highest-paid tight end in the game, Graham will count for more than $12 million against the Packers’ salary cap in 2019. That deal could really start to look like the mistake Ted Thompson made giving Randall Cobb a huge deal in 2015. The production hasn’t come close to matching the $10 million annual salary.

Could the Packers look to get out of Graham’s deal early? No doubt.

Pete Dougherty thinks Graham may be gone as soon as next year.

… after (general manager Brian) Gutekunst doled out $13.25 million to Graham this year, it’s hard to see him paying the tight end another $9 million in salary and bonuses next year. This could end up being a one-year rental unless the sides agree to a pay cut in the offseason.

I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that. Releasing Graham after the season would leave the Packers with more than $7 million in dead money. It would create $5 million in cap space.

There is a savings, but that’s a lot of dead money. More so, the Packers don’t have much in the tight end cupboard after the season. Lance Kendricks, Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan will all be free agents after the season. And let’s be honest, none of them are going to be as productive as Graham anyway.

The Packers would have to draft a tight end highly or try to sign another big-money free agent at the position to replace Graham.

More likely is the Packers try to get the most they can out of Graham in 2019. They could release him following the 2019 season and gain $8 million in cap space.

The good news is the Packers will have some flexibility. They are currently slated to have more than $40 million in cap space.

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.



  1. Cheese November 14, 2018

    Remember when everyone said Seattle didn’t know how to use tight ends? That was supposedly why Graham “only” had 10 TD’s last year. Lol. What does that say about the Packers? When is Graham going to have this explosion of success with Aaron Rodgers that people were talking about?

  2. Skinny November 14, 2018

    Yeah. That’s crazy he had 10 tds last year and people were saying he was done. Jesus Christ id shit my pants to have that kind of production out of a Packer TE.

    1. PF4L November 14, 2018

      That’s ok, Nelson had 6 td’s in 5 games last season, then all of a sudden he was done. Had nothing to do with anything, he just happened to “get old” after that 5th game.

      1. Larry November 15, 2018

        What would a GB football season be without their GM making a horrible decision? The main reason Rodgers is in a funk is because his main play making highlight move was to extend the play and Nelson was great when a play broke down. He does not have that anymore. The morons who claim Nelson lost a step no shit about football. His asset was never speed but rather his brain link with his QB. Gute fucked up that decision big time.

  3. PF4L November 14, 2018

    The 10 TD’s’ to me was an anomaly, the last time he did that was in 2014. Plus he had 98 pass attempts for only 520 yards that season. That’s not impressive by anyone’s standard. But Russ and Gute were giving each other reach arounds to sign that TD scoring machine. A far better alternative to keeping Jordy for 4 million.

    Packers recent free agency…they swing hard, but the pitches are 98mph, high and tight heat. Stay in the shallow waters until you learn to swim. In other words, hit on a 4 or 5 million dollar “useful” player …..once. That would impress me.

    I don’t care how old Rodgers and Jordy are, they could/can combo 8 TD passes a season barely paying attention.

  4. PF4L November 14, 2018

    10 touchdowns (for someone else) equal 13.25 million. Much the same as 11 sacks one year, equals 12 million/year.

    While were at it, why don’t we pay a slot receiver #1 money because that’s what he’s demanding after one Pro Bowl season.


  5. Karen Dervetski November 14, 2018

    If Graham doesnt have it this week against his former team he never will. So simple isn’t it? MM doesnt use the TE’s much anyway, kinda like our running game. Perform or bye.

  6. Kato November 14, 2018

    I feel like he needs to be kept. Look, he is on pace for what, 60 receptions and 800+ yards? That’s pretty solid for a tight end. Is it worth 13 million a year? Probably not unless he had those numbers and double digit TDs, or was an elite blocker. That is free agency in general though. 90% of the time, you are overpaying. I remember when Packers fans were all hot and bothered by Jarius Byrd back in the halcyon days of Jerron McMillan. He flamed out so badly with New Orleans.

    I say give Graham another year with hopefully a different playcaller. McCarthy has never shown an aptitude for putting TEs in a position to succeed in that offense

    1. PF4L November 14, 2018

      Well then again, why give a tight end 13 million if you know he isn’t going to be used? It’s not like Gute, Russ Ball and McNugget are all new to this team and they don’t know each other.

      Especially when New Orleans reportedly was offering him in the neighborhood of 7 million a year. Overpaying is one thing, offering to make someone the #1 paid receiver in the league is another. Especially if you didn’t have to.


      1. PF4L November 14, 2018

        *tight end

  7. PackAttack November 14, 2018

    I’m not sure how Pete Dougherty thinks that’s a valid claim when – Rodgers is having one of the worst years of his career with an all-time low in completion percentage, his QBR is the third lowest of his career, the offense is HORRIBLE in the RZ and the offensive game plan is shit most weeks. All the while Graham is second on the team in yards, receptions, and first-downs (against a fairly difficult schedule so far) and he’s in the top-10 in all tighe end categories (yards, receptions, targets, TD’s) for the season. If Graham isn’t living up to his contract then Rodgers certainly isn’t living up to his — not sure how you can dispute the differences.

    GB doesn’t have someone who can step in and command attention like Graham can, he routinely gets double-teamed, leaving Adams or MVS one-on-one, that’s worth just as much any statistics will provide. Pete should hold his wad until we get past the half-way point in this year before he starts worrying about 2019.

  8. NachoDan November 14, 2018

    Graham at 3/4-5/8 is still better than Richard Rodgers or whoever we used to have at tight end.

    1. PF4L November 15, 2018

      At 6 times the cost? Remind me not to hire you to manage my retirement fund.

      1. PF4L November 15, 2018

        2018 season…

        Jared Cook…59 targets…546 yards…3 Td’s……Cost = 5.3 million

        Jimmy Graham….55 targets….439 yards…2 TD’s……Cost = 13.25 million.

        Lets not have any further Jimmy Graham discussions. Violators are subject to being banned, ranging from not less than 30 days, to having your account suspended indefinitely.

        Thank you for understanding.

  9. Larry November 15, 2018

    GB had a good TE. Poor decision making let him walk. The Teddy/Ball combo screwed the pooch on that one.