There are plenty of questions surrounding the New Orleans Saints this year, but perhaps none are more important than one — Will the Saints and star tight end Jimmy Graham be able to come to an agreement on a new contract?
The question is hard to answer, but an entirely different one will need answering first — Is Graham a tight end or wide receiver?
At face value Graham is a tight end. But check out these numbers from Mike Triplett over at ESPN:
Pro Football Focus produced a graphic that shows how often New Orleans Saints tight endJimmy Graham has been used as an in-line tight end this year (105 snaps), and how often he’s lined up out wide or in the slot (a combined 166).
I’m not sure I agree with the notion that Graham should be labeled a “wide receiver,” though. He’s still playing on the line nearly 40 percent of the time. True receivers never line up there. What Graham plays is a hybrid role — which is how the tight end position is evolving in today’s game.
That’s a big issue.
If Graham’s agent is smart, the two will demand wide receiver money when contract negotiations roll around. Tight ends make more cash and have a bigger salary when it comes to the franchise tag, should the team choose to go that route.
Graham is undoubtedly a hybrid player, but that could end up costing the Saints dearly this offseason when it comes time to pay the man.
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