Per Adam Schefter at ESPN, the Green Bay Packers have signed TE Jimmy Graham. The deal is a three year deal at $30 million with $22 million coming in the first two years.
The Packers have been somewhat quiet at the “start” of free agency. No deals can be signed, officially, until 4:00 pm EST today. So it really wasn’t all too surprising that they were quiet. But, let’s look at three ways Jimmy Graham improves the Packers offense.
Jimmy Graham the Red Zone Threat
Although the Packers had to cut Jordy Nelson, Graham is an immediate upgrade down in the red zone. Given the fact that Aaron Rodgers is one of the top quarterbacks in the league anyways, this just gives him another option. Graham is a big bodied tight end that can get up with the best of them. Standing at 6-7 and weighing in at 265 lbs, there are very few secondaries that can cover him. Throughout his career, Graham has been known as the “former basketball player”. He knows how to use his body to shield linebackers as well as too tall for a safety or corner to cover him. This element was supposed to be handled with the acquisition of Martellus Bennett last off season.
Third Down Offense
Graham comes in with a career average of 12.2 yards per catch. In 2017, Packers ranked in the middle of the pack when it came to third down offense. The biggest reason was because Rodgers was hurt. With that, if they had a guy like Graham, they would’ve been able to keep their offense on the field. Keeping our offense on the field is going to be key given the state of the defense.
Stretch The Field
Remember the days of Jermichael Finley? Since then, the Packers haven’t had a tight end to stretch the field the way these two can. They gave it a try with Jared Cook and Bennett, but Cook couldn’t catch the ball and Bennett turned out to be a head case. Gone are the days of his 4.5 40 time, but that’s not to say Graham still doesn’t have top end speed. This will open up the field for guys like Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and the three headed monster out of the backfield.
The move comes with a bit of a let down with reports that Jordy Nelson will be cut. It was time for a resurgence, Packer nation. Although, Jordy will be missed, the offense will only be better. Now, onto shoring up the defense and that secondary!
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