Packers Preparing to Bring Back Jimmy Graham Despite Down Year (And Potential Savings)

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Packers Preparing to Bring Back Jimmy Graham Despite Down Year (And Potential Savings)

Chicago Bears

Jimmy Graham is expected to get a second chance to make it work with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.

In a video report from the Super Bowl, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport provides some clarity and insight regarding Graham’s future with the Packers:

“There has been some speculation about whether or not Graham would be back with the Packers,” Rapoport said. “My understanding is the former free agent tight end, who kind of was off-and-on this year with the Packers, is expected back, is in their plans.”

Cutting Graham would save the Packers $5.3 million against the salary cap. Considering Green Bay’s other needs around the field, you could see why it would be easy to believe that money could be better spent elsewhere. But by bringing Graham back, the expectation is that Green Bay will pay the $5 million roster bonus due to him on March 15. By doing so, Graham stays off the market and receives another opportunity to break out while catching passes from one of football’s top quarterbacks. Rodgers posted an 82.1 passer rating when targeting Graham this season and the bond the two were expected to make never developed. Graham’s 2018 was a disappointment as he caught just 55 passes for 636 yards and scored only two touchdowns.

There has been a noticeable decline in Graham’s production since leaving New Orleans. His receptions per game has dropped in each of the last four years, his 2018 catch rate is nearly four percentage points below what his career average was entering the year, and the red zone fear factor simply isn’t there for the 6-foot-7, 265-pound 32-year-old tight end.

So while Graham is a five-time Pro Bowler, he hasn’t been the type of dynamic player he was in New Orleans since leaving the Saints. And while that doesn’t mean he can’t be productive moving forward, there are some red flags that would suggest the Packers would be better off parting ways with Graham and putting the cap savings to better use elsewhere on the roster. Instead, Green Bay has apparently decided to take another roll of the dice in Graham’s age 33 season in hopes that recent trends don’t continue.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.