The Green Bay Packers are expected to move on from Jimmy Graham.
As Pete Dougherty of Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today Network-Wisconsin reported, the Packers are expected to release the veteran tight end this offseason. The 33-year-old Graham has a $12 million cap hit for the 2020 season and the Packers can save $8 million by releasing him this offseason.
“As for players, it’s a given Graham is gone, right? I have to think Martinez is gone, too. Bulaga is the tough call because he had such a good season, but there’s his age and injury. I’m leaning toward thinking he’ll be too expensive, but I need to talk to some people around the league and think it through some more.”
Graham’s Production Has Declined Drastically
The news isn’t exactly surprising considering Graham’s age and the fact that he hasn’t been very productive in years. After emerging as a bonafide stud in his early years, Graham’s productivity has fallen off of a cliff. Graham was once a five-time Pro Bowler and two time All-Pro.
However, he had just 38 receptions for 447 yards and three touchdowns while appearing in all 16 games. Those numbers are a decline from his 55 receptions for 636 yards in his first season and they pale in comparison to his averages from his New Orleans Saints days.
As a member of the Saints from 2011 until 2014, Graham averaged 89 receptions and 1,099 yards per season.
While it may not be the nicest thing to say, it just simply makes sense for the Packers to move on from Graham entering the 2020 season.
Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Mention Graham
Following the Packers’ season-ending loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, it was rather telling that Aaron Rodgers didn’t mention Graham by name when it came to players that he believed Green Bay needed to bring back.
However, he did make sure to mention tight end Marcedes Lewis — who is 35 years old and is used as primarily a blocker at this stage of his career. Lewis had just 15 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown this past season.
“I love our guys and the pieces that we’ve put together,” Rodgers said. “I think we need to continue to find those niche guys like the Tyler Ervins that we brought in. Those guys are obviously very important: Jared Veldheer, Marcedes Lewis. There’s a lot of guys I’d love to see back (like) Bryan Bulaga.”
Rodgers continued to stress the importance of continuity and bringing back the guys that he mentioned — which again, was a list that did not include Graham by name.
“Those guys have been really important to our success, but the one thing that is always constant in this game as you all know is change, and I know there will be some changes this offseason,” Rodgers said. “But the exciting thing is I really have a lot of faith and trust in Brian and his staff.
“The window is open for us, and that’s the exciting thing. It doesn’t make this feeling any easy, but that is very exciting for us moving forward.”
While Rodgers isn’t the guy who makes decisions, his opinion as the franchise quarterback does go a long way in the organization.
When factoring in everything mentioned earlier, it’s hard to envision Graham in a Packers uniform for the 2020 season.