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How Much Would You Pay Jimmy Graham?

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Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) stands on the sidelines during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. The Lions won 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

So what’s the story? Could it be that Graham is potentially seeking Wide Receiver money?

There’s currently 8 Wide Receivers in the NFL who have a contract with a total value above Rob Gronkowski. The list would start with Miles Austin (DAL), who has a total value of $54.1M. Then it increases from there, and continues with: Vincent Jackson (TB – $55.555M), Dwayne Bowe (KC – $56M), Mike Wallace (MIA – $60M), Percy Harvin (SEA – $64.245M), Andre Johnson (HOU – $67.8M). Then, it gets into the triple digits for two wide receivers, who are arguably worth it: Larry Fitzgerald (ARI – $113M), & Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson (DET – $113.45M).

Again, the fact that Jimmy Graham was snubbed from the NFL’s Top 100 Players list helped fuel this fire. Graham led the league in drops last season by any receiver, and I always felt/knew something had to have been wrong, and it turns out I was right, as he underwent offseason surgery to fix that wrist injury.

Graham has come out the gate this season playing on a level ‘beyond fire’. Up until the game against the Patriots, there’s been zero answers by opposing defenses to cover Graham. Bill Belichick might have found a way, but it remains to be seen whether that stays the case. There’s only one of Aqib Talib.

Graham was reportedly presented an offer of a contract extension in September, but did not respond to said offer by Mickey Loomis and company.

Mickey Loomis is a mastermind when it comes to the Saints. For those of you who don’t know, Loomis has been the Executive Vice President/General Manager for the past 12 seasons, and is in his 14th season for the Saints. As we entered the offseason, we had so many questions about how things were going to work in terms of being over the salary cap. I mean, when March started, the Saints were $16M over the cap. Despite everything, Loomis brought in new talent, restructured veterans, and ended up bringing it all together in the end. Loomis’ restructure tactics, which tends to be lowering players base salaries, and giving them more guaranteed money up front, takes a bit of scrutiny from some. These type of moves are said to be a ‘band-aid’ for an even bigger problem.

I don’t have to defend or promote Mickey Loomis much else, but I’ll leave you with this: This is the guy who didn’t let Drew Brees walk.

I know (and you should expect) Graham’s contract is going to be substantial. To think $60M as a starting threshold is definitely not out of the question, and that’s at an absolute minimum. The absolute worst case scenario is that Graham gets the franchise tag, which would roughly end up being $5-7M.

The Saints have gone to younger talent, and have really made things work with Undrafted Rookie Free Agents. They are also in a situation where they will potentially have to trim players who are due to take up a lot of space in 2014 (i.e. Will Smith). Graham loves it here, and would definitely love to play out his career as a Saint. However, it will cost the Saints.

In Loomis, I Trust. You should too.

You’re Mickey Loomis, what would you pay for Jimmy Graham? How much of a guaranteed deal would you throw vs. base salary? What players would be ‘casualties’ as a result of this deal?

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