Will Jimmy Graham And The Saints Part Ways?
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Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will be a highly coveted free agent if he, and the Saints don't come to contract terms. The team is in a bind because they don't have room under the NFL salary cap to make an offer that he'll accept. A week ago, the Saints were more than $12 million over the cap. Releasing veterans Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper , and Jonathan Vilma has only gotten them down to three million under the cap. The Saints have until March 3rd to use the "Franchise tag" to keep Graham from negotiating with other teams. This would entail the team paying him the average of the top 5 players at his position for one season.
This presents another problem. Graham is listed as a tight end. That would bring about $6.8 million. He wants to be treated as wide wide receiver. This would mean a salary of $11.6 million. Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 of Drew Brees' 39 TD passes in 2013. He contends he was used as a wide receiver twice as much as a tight end, and says he'll file a grievance if tagged as a tight end.
Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis told the Times Picayune, "That's where we drafted him, that's where we play him. In our view he's a tight end. That's what makes him valuable."
I don't expect a quick resolution to this situation.