We’re back for another fun-filled week of Saints news. Let’s get you caught up on some stories from the weekend, and a good one for today.
Larry Holder | NOLA.com | Where could the New Orleans Saints turn next for salary cap relief for 2014?
There’s no mistake the Saints will make room to tag Graham in the very least. So continued maneuvering through restructuring contracts or releasing players will have to occur for the Saints to even tag Graham, much less sign him to a long-term deal or any of their other free agents to a long-term deal.
Last offseason, the Saints pushed Smith, Vilma and Harper into taking paycuts to remain with the Saints. They also restructured the contracts of guards Jahri Evans (second highest cap figure for 2014) and Ben Grubbs (third), wide receiver Marques Colston (fourth), defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (fifth) and linebackers Curtis Lofton (sixth) and David Hawthorne (10th).
I’ve covered this previously, bringing attention to the Top 10 drainers of the Saints’ salary cap. Fans will likely have to say goodbye to players like Lance Moore or Brodrick Bunkley for the ‘greater good’. You could likely see restructures from some players, but as we’ve seen with players like Marques Colston and Curtis Lofton, it doesn’t necessarily help in the long run. The Saints have a small amount of wiggle room right now, but it’s not enough money for Jimmy Graham, even with a franchise tag.
Mike Triplett | ESPN.com | Saints mailbag: Restock the secondary?
It’s not a glaring hole. I think the Saints are set with Keenan Lewis as one of the better No. 1 cornerbacks in the NFL. And I like their young depth: (I think Corey White still has the potential to be a solid part of the rotation – though he might fit better as a No. 3/slot corner. I like the potential of second-year pro Rod Sweeting, among a handful of other young backups. And who knows, maybe Patrick Robinson will stay and get his career back on track if he can stay healthy.)
On paper, the Saints secondary is one giant question mark. As it stands, you are looking at the starting corners to be Keenan Lewis & Patrick Robinson (maybe), and for safety it’s Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush. Beyond that? It’s guys like Trevin Wade and Roderick Sweeting, who are young, but unproven.
Mike Triplett | ESPN.com | Franchise/transition tags: Saints
At some point between now and the March 3 deadline, the Saints will use their franchise tag on Graham, unless they work out a long-term contract extension first (which seems highly unlikely).
When that happens, Graham and agent Jimmy Sexton are expected to file a grievance through the NFL Players Association claiming that Graham should officially be franchised as a wide receiver instead of a tight end, since he lined up either in the slot or out wide for 67 percent of his snaps last season.
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone when this happens. It’s not a question of ‘what if’ Graham does it. The bottom line is, the long-term deal between the two parties seems so far apart. Imagine the contract negotiations if you were trying to get from New York to Los Angeles, but you only had a bike. That’s what we are led to believe at this point.
Bryan Salmond | WWLTV.com | Video – Graham: This is my city
“This is my city. Not only do I love this city but I love our fans. I don’t think there’s any other fan base better in the NFL or really throughout any sport than there is in New Orleans. They love us through the thick and thin. Through moments up and down they’re going to be with us and they’re going to be in the ‘Dome packed or they’re going to be on the road whenever we’re leaving, screaming Who Dat.
With the NBA All-Star festivities going on in New Orleans, it was a familiar spot for Jimmy Graham to be around. Jimmy isn’t going anywhere, and players that play in New Orleans are a part of something special. There are few fan bases that rival the love Who Dat Nation shows their players.
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