Posted January 25, 2014

Jimmy Graham: franchise tag would be ‘really unfortunate’

NFL
Graham

Jimmy Graham is the best tight end in the NFL, but will the Saints have to pay him like a wide receiver? (Wesley Hitt/Getty)

One of the biggest offseason priorities for the New Orleans Saints will be locking up star tight end Jimmy Graham to a long-term deal. However, for salary cap purposes, the Saints may be forced to place the franchise tag on the NFL’s top tight end, and that’s where things get thorny.

“I’m not keen on the franchise tag,” Graham said Friday after a Pro Bowl practice, according to NFL.com. “That would be really unfortunate, but that’s really all I have to say about that. That’s real unfortunate. If that happens, it doesn’t really matter what I prefer.”

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Graham, who caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and an NFL-leading 16 touchdowns last year, would be an interesting test case for the franchise tag. New Orleans would likely tag him as a tight end, his officially listed position, and the position at which he was listed for Pro Bowl voting. The franchise tag salary for a tight end last year was just under $6 million. However, Graham’s representatives will likely argue that the Saints would have to tag Graham as a wide receiver, since he lines up split wide on many snaps. The salary for a franchise-tagged wide receiver last year was over $10.3 million, a difference of more than $4 million.

In four seasons with the Saints, Graham has caught 301 passes for 3,863 yards and 41 TDs.


17 comments
Rickapolis
Rickapolis

I understand the problem since NFL teams are all so hard up for money. Jeez, they want to cheat the guy by using a technicality. Let him shop around. If he's offered a contract for 10-12 million a year make the 'Aints pay him that.

BigRoundDad
BigRoundDad

In other news, it has been determined that water is wet.

ZackSelzman
ZackSelzman

If they tag him as a TE, he should really be able to refuse to line up as a Wide receiver.  They shouldn't be able to franchise him as one thing but use him as another if he gets 4.5 mil less for being a tight end.

riley8
riley8

This guy, while talented, is a Drew Brees creation.  Football is a business and he will be tagged as a TE and rightfully so.  Where were you against SEA in the playoffs Jimbo?

pmccnn
pmccnn

Talented but lacks mental toughness. Zero receptions against the Pats and I believe it was the same outcome against the Seahawks. Be happy where you are Jimmy, New Orleans loves you - so they'll pay up eventually.

DODGERFAIL2013
DODGERFAIL2013

deal with it.  besides, you already said "You'd rather retire than play for another QB".  keep on keepin on

TerrapinStation87
TerrapinStation87

Your performance against the Seahawks in the divisional round of the playoffs was also "really unfortunate".

troyhargens
troyhargens

Gets shut down when it matters but still only threat NO has

pickle
pickle

No way the Saints let him go to another team, franchise tag or not

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@riley8  I disagree.  Look at Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals.  Great numbers with Kurt Warner and then much less production with the bad QB's in the years after Warner retired.


Larry IS a great receiver but he (and Jimmy Graham) cannot throw the ball to himself.  


Not all TE's can do what Graham does even if Brees was throwing them the ball.


Now some players are greatly helped by all world teammates but Graham and Larry F. of the Cardinals, among others ARE very good at what they do.



COOL,


With respect to Welker, Manning, like Brady is an all world QB so you have to use something else to make your argument than that.

Cool
Cool

@riley8 yeah, just like Welker was/is a Brady creation, he would never do well with another QB????

Voiceover310
Voiceover310

@pmccnn zero receptions doesn't mean he didn't have any impact on the game. If your best TE never touches the ball, multiple other players should be getting great looks which in turn proves his worth. 

rockferd
rockferd

@troyhargens It's uncanny how he gets completely shut down. The game against the Pats was an embarrassment.

riley8
riley8

@Voiceover310 @pmccnn I don't believe pmccnn was saying he didn't have any impact.  But when you lead the league in TD's you are expected to produce numbers.  He gets paid to produce stats first and foremost.  He definitely did not do that with 1 reception right before the game ended.