Report: Packers expected to keep TE Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham could get a second year in Green Bay.

According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Packers expect the tight end will be with them in 2019. He’s due a $5 million roster bonus in March and the team plans to pay it.

Graham was new general manager Brian Gutekunst’s big free agent acquisition last spring, but the results were not what everyone was hoping. Playing in all 16 games, he averaged 3.4 catches per game, the lowest figure for him since his rookie year. He failed to give Green Bay a true threat down the middle of the field, averaging 11.6 yards per reception. And after grabbing 10 touchdowns in his final year in Seattle, Graham had just two for the Packers and none in the final eight games.

It’s unclear what kind of a boost new coach Matt LaFleur’s offense could give the position. The four tight ends with Tennessee, where LaFleur was the offensive coordinator this past season, had a total of 48 receptions in 2018. But one of his mentors, Kyle Shanahan, has used the tight end extensively with the San Francisco 49ers. This past season George Kittle had 88 catches for 1,377 yards.

Of the tight ends on Green Bay’s roster, only Graham is signed for next season. Veterans Lance Kendricks and Marcedes Lewis are both unrestricted free agents, while the young but promising Robert Tonyan is an exclusive rights free agent.