The lead picture on this article is of Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin butting hips. They are doing this as they enter of field to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 10, 2017. I know it is pregame because there’s a caption on the photo, but also because it seems unlikely that Graham has celebrated since that moment.
Because over his last two games, Graham has caught one of five targets for a total of -1 yard. The Seattle Seahawks lost both of those games by a combined score of 72-31 and their grip on a postseason berth has all but slipped away. Sure, the Seahawks may decide to move on from Graham, but more importantly, will Graham even entertain their offers at this point?
Per ProFootballFocus, Graham has run 80 passing routes over the last three weeks, gaining a total of 25 yards. His 0.31 yards per route is 76th out of 78 tight ends. I mean, most people would struggle to name 7-8 tight ends, let alone 78. The 78th tight end in the NFL probably still has his part time job at his dad’s landscaping business. But Graham is the highest paid tight end in the NFL on an APY basis, and his value to Seattle during the most important time of the season has been a net negative.
You could blame this on Graham himself, who has at least seven drops this season, including the crucial one against the Rams on Sunday that was ruled an incomplete pass but just as nearly could have been a fumble. He’s dropped touchdowns and clearly had difficulty maintaining focus on certain throws his way. Graham has nine touchdowns and has arguably been the best red zone threat in the NFL, but he’s also averaging a career-low 8.9 yards per catch and catching a career-low 59.6% of his targets.
You could also just blame the coaches for spending the first two years of his Seahawks career not figuring out how to use him in the red zone, then the third season not figuring out how to use him between the 20s. Why has Graham only been targeted nine times over the last three games, catching just four of them for 25 yards gained? Why did management acquire the league’s highest-paid tight end just to see him play a full season and only come away with about 60 catches and 520 yards by the time the year is over? That seems like a wasteful use of $10 million in cap space when the team had huge needs at offensive line and cornerback, right?
I was for the Graham trade at the time and I still don’t think there’s a sign of it being a bad process, but the execution — both on the coaching side and Graham’s side — has been kinda terrible. Graham has zero games above 80 yards this season and four games below 10.
118 players have had an 80-yard receiving game this season and Graham isn’t one of them. Former Seattle running back Rod Smith has an 80-yard game this season.
This is not a post trying to explain away the blame for Jimmy Graham’s lack of production, just a post pointing out how bad it has gotten on that end and that if the Seahawks plan to re-sign Graham — if Graham even wants to come back — they should really have a much clearer idea of what to do with him next.