Over the years the tight end position is one that has been a mystery for this Green Bay Packers team but if we rewind back to the 2018 offseason, the free-agent signing of Jimmy Graham was supposed to alleviate that problem.
GM Brian Gutekunst and the Packers would sign Graham to a three year – $30 million contract which made him the highest-paid tight end in the league on an annual basis. However, with high expectations placed on his shoulders, Graham really didn’t live up to the hype last season.
Now, I will say his 2018 season wasn’t as bad as some fans make it out to be as he still did have 55 receptions – the second-most on the team – for 655 yards. With that said, he certainly wasn’t the red zone threat that everyone expected him to be as he had just two touchdown catches the entire season.
The Packers had the opportunity to move on from Graham this offseason but would have suffered a fairly decent dead cap hit, but instead honored his contract and with Matt LaFleur bringing in a more tight end friendly offense, Graham was looking to bounce-back and prove the haters wrong.
While LaFleur’s offense does feature the tight end more than Mike McCarthy’s did, realistically, Graham just isn’t a good fit for this system. LaFleur wants his tight ends to be just as capable blocking as they are in the passing-game which helps disguise the play call and keeps defenses off balance.
Yet as we all know, blocking isn’t exactly a strength of Jimmy Graham’s game. And unfortunately, there are plenty of other examples like this one:
However, even with all the questions surrounding Graham this offseason, in week one against the Chicago Bears he caught the only touchdown reception of the game and had three total catches for 30 yards.
At the time it looked like Graham could have been poised for that bounce-back season that everyone was hoping for but that hasn’t been the case at all. Over the last two games, Graham has disappeared as he has only one target and no catches during that span.
Although it has been a slow start overall for the entire Packers’ offense, they need someone else to step up in the passing game other than Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Coming into the season we had hoped that Graham could be the player to do just that but that hasn’t been the case at all.
If things don’t change very quickly, it will be time for the more athletic Robert Tonyan to see more snaps and bring another dynamic weapon to this offense.