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Packers GM Brian Gutekunst says it’s his ‘understanding’ that Jimmy Graham wants to play

Following the Green Bay Packers’ loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, many began to wonder whether or not tight end Jimmy Graham would be playing in 2020.

Nearly a week after the loss, Green Bay’s general manager Brian Gutekunst says it’s his ‘understanding’ that Graham wants to play next season, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.

As the offseason approaches, Graham is entering the final year of the three-year contract he signed with the Packers in 2018. The veteran pass-catcher is slated to be nearly a $12 million cap hit to Green Bay in 2020.

Given that, Gutekunst’s vague comments could point toward the Packers parting ways with Graham this offseason. The Packers could free up $8 million in cap space if they chose to release Graham.

In his two seasons in Green Bay, Graham has combined for 93 receptions, 1,083 yards, and five touchdowns. There were times earlier in his career that he was producing those numbers in one season.

Now, at 33-years-old, it’s evident that Graham is no longer the dominant tight end he once was. His drop-off in performance coupled with the money he’s owed could spell the end for Graham in Green Bay.

Last year, the Packers used their third-round pick to select Jace Sternberger; a tight end out of Texas A&M. Due to an injury, Sternberger spent most of the 2019 season on injured reserve. The rookie tight end would play in both postseason contests and total three receptions, 15 yards, and one touchdown.

When the Packers selected Sternberger, many believed he was the eventual replacement for Graham. While Graham wants to continue playing in the NFL, he may have to find a new home in 2020.