The Green Bay Packers released veteran tight end Jimmy Graham, the team announced on Thursday. Graham will become a free agent immediately rather than waiting until the start of the new league year March 18. The move sheds $8 million from Green Bay's salary cap. He had one more year remaining on his contract.
The Packers' willingness to move on from Graham could be an indication that his replacement is already in mind. Green Bay is rated in the bottom one-third of the league in regards to salary cap space, according to Spotrac.
Graham, 33, has been named to the Pro Bowl five times during his career. He has twice been named an All-Pro. Over the past two years, he has accumulated 93 receptions for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns. Graham previously spent five seasons with the Saints and three seasons with the Seahawks. The Miami product was taken in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by New Orleans.
Some of the notable tight end free agents include Hunter Henry of the Chargers, Austin Hooper of the Falcons, Jason Witten of the Cowboys and Eric Ebron of the Colts. The Packers are left with Evan Baylis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger and James Looney at the tight end position. Sternberger was drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Green Bay has ten selections in the 2020 NFL Draft beginning with No. 30 overall. Wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback also figure to be top needs. Several of the team's other veterans are also scheduled to hit free agency: offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, defensive back Tramon Williams, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, offensive tackle Jason Spriggs, tight end Marcedes Lewis, wide receiver Geronimo Allison and inside linebacker Blake Martinez.