The Green Bay Packers are heading into a new era this offseason with new general manager Brian Gutekunst taking over the reigns. Ted Thompson stepped aside following a disappointing 2017 season and the Packers are expected to take a much more aggressive approach to the offseason as they look to get themselves back into Super Bowl contention.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers started the 2017 season off strong with a 4-1 record. Unfortunately, Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone against the Minnesota Vikings and everything began falling apart.
Green Bay finished the season with a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs. It was a sobering reminder that they are not a very good football team without their star quarterback on the field. Now, they will look to add more talent around him in an attempt to alleviate some of the pressure that he faces and put themselves in a better position to win even if he does miss time due to injury.
Looking ahead to free agency, the Packers have a few glaring needs that they need to address. One of those needs is at the tight end position after last year’s big free agency signing, Martellus Bennett, did not pan out.
Jimmy Graham is set to hit free agency this offseason and will receive a lot of interest on the open market. Green Bay must pursue him if they want to round out their offense for Rodgers.
Last season with the Seattle Seahawks, Graham ended up catching 57 passes for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns. He may not have been dominant, but he certainly was a threat for Russell Wilson to utilize.
Pete Dougherty: Packers could make free-agent splash at tight end if Jimmy Graham becomes available. https://t.co/zSHLuIlnHG— Packers News (@PGPackersNews) January 20, 2018
Rodgers has always liked having big, athletic tight ends to target. That can be seen from his time with Jermichael Finley early on and even with Jared Cook a couple years ago. Graham would easily be the most talented tight end that Rodgers has had the opportunity to work with if the Packers sign him.
Spotrac currently has Graham’s market value listed at around $6.7 million. If that is all it would take for the Packers to get him on a two-year deal, they should jump all over the opportunity.
Even at 31 years of age, Graham is worth the investment for the Packers. They don’t have a huge window to win more Super Bowls with Rodgers under center. There are a few prime years left in his career, but the injuries are piling up.
Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb aren’t getting any younger at the wide receiver position. Thankfully for the Packers, Davante Adams has stepped up in a big way and has become a potential No. 1 option for Rodgers. Graham would simply take pressure off of all three receivers and give Rodgers a major security blanket to work with.
All of that being said, Graham is going to be coveted by quite a few teams when free agency opens up. Green Bay certainly needs a tight end, but they will need to pursue Graham aggressively if they want to bring him in.
There are other options in free agency should the Packers choose to go a different direction. They could take a gamble on often-injured tight end Tyler Eifert, or they could consider a player like Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Antonio Gates.
While there could be other options, Graham would completely change the Packers’ offense. He is the type of piece that can take the offense to the next level.
Green Bay and Graham seem like a perfect fit for each other and the Packers must aggressively pursue him in free agency this offseason.