The Seahawks have a lot of big name free agents this off-season. Is there any chance that Jimmy Graham will be back? More importantly, should he be back?
Jimmy Graham hasn’t exactly had the impact in Seattle that everyone expected when the Seahawks got him from the New Orleans Saints. No secret there, as we and the rest of the western world have written practically millions of words about his production. Those expectations weren’t the most realistic, but at least he found the red zone in 2017. This is hardly the first time we’ve considered if Graham should be re-signed, and likely won’t be the last.
First, let’s take a deeper look at the career of Jimmy Graham. In fact, we’ll start with 2014, his last year with the Saints. Other than his rookie year, Graham had career lows in targets, receptions (tied), yards, average yards per catch, and longest reception. He did catch 10 touchdowns, one better than his previous post-rookie season low. Maybe it isn’t so surprising the Saints were willing to move him after all.
Regardless, 12s expected the player that caught 16 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards. Instead, they got barely over 600 yards and a miserable two touchdowns. Much of that can be blamed on the now departed Darrell Bevell. As Lee wrote a month ago in his look at Graham, “Darrell Bevell, let’s be honest, has no idea what to do with a tight end of Graham’s skill set.” So true. Graham missed five games with a torn patellar tendon, it’s true. But both his targets and catches dropped by one per game. He caught one third as many touchdowns per game. His first year with the Seahawks was certainly disappointing.
Jimmy Graham picked it up for 2016, then had a bizarre 2017
Graham was much better in 2016. He had the highest yards per catch average of his career at 14.2. He had the best catch percentage since his rookie season, at 68.4%. Sadly he only found the end zone six times, but see the Darrell Bevell comment for that. Despite the red zone issues, Jimmy Graham looked good in 2016.
2017, not so much. Coach Bevell remembered Graham was on the team at red zone time, but that was about the only thing that went right for Graham. He didn’t catch a touchdown till week five, then disappeared against the Jaguars and Rams. Two targets and no receptions against Jacksonville, and he was in for 38 snaps. Graham also got penalized for unnecessary roughness in the game. Not his best work.
He could have played like King Kong against the Rams and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Seahawks beat the Cowboys thanks to a ferocious defensive performance. Graham did get the Seahawks on the board near the end of the first half. But that Jacksonville game…that hurt. Graham came up big in several games, but he was practically a no-show in a couple of key losses, too. I’m not knocking ten touchdowns, believe me. But Graham was anything but consistent last season.