Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) is tackled by Chicago Bears free safety Chris Conte (47) during the second half at Soldier Field. The Saints beat the Bears 26-18. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

All Things Saints: Your Daily News 3/3


We’ll get you caught up on mostly weekend stories Who Dat Nation, and there’s a lot that would pique your interest.

NOLA.com | New Orleans Saints increasing ticket prices

For the first time since after the 2009 Super Bowl season, the New Orleans Saints are increasing ticket prices. The team sent out a notice to season-ticket holders over the weekend that prices would be going up. 

No ticket price will increase by more than $10 per game and approximately 1/3 of all seats will be priced at $55 or less per game.

I could just say ‘Bah, Humbug!‘, but everyone has to understand that this is a business, and that’s the nature of how things run. You have to make money. Don’t forget, the Saints home games in 2014 are outstanding, probably the best variety of games in quite some time.

Katherine Terrell | NOLA.com | NFLPA confirms 2014 salary cap is set at $133 million, which could aid the New Orleans Saints

The NFLPA confirmed Friday afternoon the 2014 salary cap has been set at $133 million, which is $10 million more than last season and places the New Orleans Saints about $8 million under the salary cap.

That’s much higher than the initial estimate of $126 million, and a $9.4 million jump over the 2013 salary cap. 

We all know that this is good news for the Saints. That means there’s more room to work with to lock up some of those guys who are set to hit the open market like a Zach Strief, or Parys Haralson. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is all about strategy, and he is one of the best in the business to make it happen.

Mike Triplett | ESPN.com |  Jimmy Graham, Saints are both right

But even with that leverage, the Saints should recognize that Graham has earned at least $10 million per year. That would make him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history, surpassing the $9 million average of Rob Gronkowski‘s 2012 extension with the New England Patriots.

I don’t see why Graham and the Saints couldn’t agree on $10M per season. I think that’s fair, and perhaps it’s more in the details at this point. That’s where it gets crazy. I’m sure there are clauses in the contract that could stipulate that not all of that money is guaranteed. Maybe that is your disconnect. For reference, here’s the Rob Gronkowski contract details:

Year Base S. Bonus Misc. Cap Hit Dead
2012 540,000 2,040,000 80,000 2,660,000 -
2013 630,000 2,040,000 80,000 2,750,000 11,470,000
2014 3,750,000 1,600,000 50,000 5,400,000 8,700,000
2015 4,750,000 1,600,000 2,300,000 8,650,000 13,300,000
2016 4,915,000 1,600,000 2,300,000 8,815,000 9,650,000
2017 5,055,000 - 2,250,000 7,305,000 6,000,000
2018 8,000,000 - 2,250,000 10,250,000 4,000,000
2019 9,000,000 - 2,250,000 11,250,000 2,000,000

 

WWLTV.com | Saints place franchise tag on Jimmy Graham

Graham tweeted, “Confirming it’s officially Franchisefriday… TAG … I guess I’m it…”

The franchise tag would be just the beginning of the saga as whether Graham is a wide receiver or a tight end as his agent and the Saints squabble over money. 

Mickey Loomis, the Saints general manager, is certain that Graham is indeed a tight end, saying in January, “Isn’t that what we drafted him as?”

“Isn’t that what he made the Pro Bowl as? That’s what we see him as, a tight end.”

This was the biggest news of Friday, and we all knew it was coming. There’s not much else to say about it at this point, let Loomis work his magic.

NOLA.com | Former Saint Darren Sharper fired by NFL Network, official says

Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper has been fired from his job as a commentator and analyst on the NFL Network, a spokesman for the network said Saturday (March 1).

Sharper  was suspended without pay by the network Jan. 18 after he was accused of rape. He has served as an NFL analyst for the network since he retired from football in 2011.

Maybe you can call this the ‘rock bottom‘ part of Darren Sharper’s life. It isn’t looking good for Sharper, as everything is crumbling before him. We’ll know more as it unfolds!

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