Houston Texans: Should consider signing Jimmy Graham if cut
By Avery Duncan
The Houston Texans could be in the market for a tight end this offseason and they could look to Green Bay to fix that void.
According to Pete Dougherty of The Green Bay Press-Gazette former New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and current Green Bay Packers tight end, Jimmy Graham could be waived this offseason. Which makes sense considering the massive three years, $30 million contract the star tight end signed in 2018, and the relatively disappointing result in year one of the contract.
While with the Packers, the 32-year-old caught 55 passes for 636 yards and two touchdowns, which are pedestrian numbers considering his previous seasons. If the Packers decide to do cut him, they could save a hair over $5.3 million in 2019 and $8 million in 2020, per Over the Cap.
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Despite having a down year in 2018, Graham would present the Houston Texans with an upgrade over their inexperienced tight end depth chart, as the combination of Ryan Griffin, Jordan Akins, and Jordan Thomas combined for just 61 receptions, 745 yards and four touchdowns on the year.
Being ’18 draft picks, Akins and Thomas should both locks to make the roster in 2019, while the former ’13 sixth-round pick Griffin might not be due to poor play. If the Texans decide to part ways with Griffin they would save a hair over $2.6 million dollars, per Over the Cap. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Griffin also had the second worst catch percentage among tight ends in ’18 with 55.81 percent, furthering his case as a viable cap casualty candidate.
Adding Graham to the mix would make sense on the field. The former All-Pro had a down year with Aaron Rodgers, but that doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering Rodgers’ history with tight ends. Historically, tight ends playing with Rodgers have seen less production than with other quarterbacks. Former Packer and current free agent Jared Cook is a fantastic example of such notion, as the tight end put up two career years (including a ’19 Pro-Bowl appearance) after his departure from Green Bay.
Graham wouldn’t be the focal point of the Texans offense, but he would fill a much-needed void. Deshaun Watson could use another veteran weapon to throw to as the lack of skill position depth outside of DeAndre Hopkins was noticeable in their lone playoff appearance this month.
The Texans star-studded receiving core and Graham would also be mutual benefactors if they were to play together. Hopkins and Will Fuller would make defenses respect the outside of the field, while Graham could do the same in the inside. Simply put, a team with Watson throwing to Hopkins, Fuller and Graham would give defensive coordinators nightmares.
Although Graham isn’t the same player he was back in New Orleans, he does still offer offenses speed, refined route-running, experience and reliable hands, which are all valuable commodities in the modern NFL for a tight end.
Graham is also developed as a blocking tight end over the years. If the Texans are serious about contending for the 2020 Super Bowl, taking a look at Graham if he were to be cut would be a start.