Jimmy Graham was one of the biggest free agents on the market this offseason and had quite a few teams trying to sign him. Among those teams were the Green Bay Packers. Despite bigger money elsewhere, Graham decided to sign with the Packers to play with superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
It was a move that shocked quite a few around the league, as many expected him to return to the New Orleans Saints. Green Bay may not have had the best offer for Graham, but the presence of Rodgers was what made Graham’s final decision an easy one for him.
“There was a lot of teams out there who were really pulling on me and I turned down quite a significant amount of money to come here because I believe in not only Mike (McCarthy) but, I mean, ’12’s’ hungry. I know how he is and I know how competitive he is and I want to ride that wave and try to help him as best I can.”
Looking ahead to the 2018 NFL season, Graham is expected to be a major impact player for the Packers. He has struggled with injuries, but playing with Rodgers is likely to help turn his career back around.
NFL Network has ranked Graham as the No. 89 best player heading into the 2018 season. That ranking is fair after he struggled at times last season. Green Bay couldn’t be more excited to see what the star tight end has left and are hoping that he will finally give Rodgers the tight end threat that they need.
All of that being said, what should the Packers and Green Bay fans expect from Graham in 2018?
Quite simply, they should expect to see a resurgence from the tight end. He caught 57 passes for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with the Seattle Seahawks. Those touchdown numbers are exactly what the Packers need at the tight end position, but his receptions and yardage should go up.
Green Bay still has Davante Adams and Randall Cobb as their top two wide receivers. Both of those players are going to put up big numbers. Outside of Adams and Cobb, Graham will be Rodgers’ most dangerous weapon.
Jordy Nelson has been Rodgers’ favorite target for years, but he was released this offseason in order to create the cap room necessary to sign both Graham and Muhammad Wilkerson. It was a move that hurt Packers’ fans and Rodgers was obviously disappointed with the move. Without Nelson, Graham could be a good bet to become the favorite target even ahead of the wide receivers.
Predicting stats is never an easy job, but it would be reasonable to expect 65 receptions for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those numbers would make the $10 million per year that the Packers are spending on Graham well worth it.
Last season was a rough year for the Packers, missing the playoffs due to Rodgers’ injury issues. Graham may not be the one piece that wins them a championship, but he will prove to be one of the biggest pickups from free agency.