Nov 17, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the 49ers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
It has been quite an ugly offseason for Jimmy Graham and the New Orleans Saints. Neither side is agreeing on much at this point (other than the fact that Jimmy wants to stay in New Orleans and New Orleans wants Jimmy to stay) and I think I speak for the entire Who Dat Nation when I say that we just want all of this to be over with…and soon.
Well, according to nbcsports.com, the Saints and Graham are expected to reach a long-term deal before the April 22 deadline. That is the day that he must file a grievance arguing whether or not he should be tagged as a tight end or a wide receiver.
Obviously he is listed as a tight end, but his agent Jimmy Sexton likes to think otherwise. Truth be told, Sexton does have an argument; Graham spent 67 percent of his snaps lined up as a receiver in 2013. In fact, 586 of his snaps were in the receiver position. Only 291 were at the tight end spot. To further break it down, 109 of Graham’s targets were as a receiver and only 29 of them were as a tight end. Receptions (WR-68, TE-18), yards (WR-838, TE-377), and touchdowns (WR-12, TE-4).
That is an argument indeed. He is still listed as a tight end, however. While his agent believes he should be paid as a receiver, front offices in New Orleans want to give him tight end money. In my opinion, Graham is one of the top receivers in the NFL and the number one tight end. People can argue in Rob Gronkowski, but it’s hard to be the best when you spend half of the season on the bench. Gronkowski is currently averaging $9 million after signing an extension in 2012 worth $54 million over six years.
Jimmy Graham should be the highest paid tight end in the game. He seeks to earn around $10.5 million per year, but New Orleans is not looking to cough up that much dough. My opinion? Meet somewhere in the middle, if possible. A deal that will keep both sides happy. Don’t get me wrong, Graham deserves every bit of that $10.5 mil, if not more, but the Saints are running a little low on cash. On the other hand, Mickey Loomis is a magic man when it comes to team finances and the business aspect of the game. Anything seems possible with Loomis running the show. If they can pay the man, show him the money!
This whole dispute is a mess, and an unnecessary distraction for the team. The grievance deadline is a month away. Is a long-term deal on the horizon? I guess we’ll wait and see how it all plays out, but this debacle needs to vanish.