With Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski cashing in after only two NFL seasons, many assume that Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will be next.
Graham isn’t among the many.
“I’m already breaking the bank I think,” Graham told the media on Thursday, via comments transcribed and distributed by the team. “I don’t even think about those aspects of it right now. We have such a big season and we have so many hurdles to get over until that really comes in the picture. I know if I handle and I take care of the things I need to on the field that this organization will take care of me.”
On one hand, it’s refreshing. On the other hand, it’s a little naïve. Under contract for two more seasons, the team won’t take care of him if he suffers a serious injury or if for some reason he loses his fastball.
And even if he gets through the next two seasons unscathed, Graham may be slapped with the tight end level of the franchise tag, possibly prompting a fight over whether he should be regarded as a receiver.
Even then, he may have to take a stand before getting paid what he objectively deserves.
Our views in this regard flow directly from the things quarterback Drew Brees had to do in order to receive a contract from the Saints that reflects his value. Brees had to finish his six-year deal, and then he had to stay away from the entire offseason program.
Of course, the fact that Brees pushed for the biggest piece of cap pie he could get will make it harder for guys like Graham to do the same. Regardless, Graham won’t get anything close to his value if he’s going to take the position that he’s perfectly happy with the slotted third-round deal he received in 2010.
And if Brees ever suggests to Graham that he should take less than full value in order to help the Saints field a competitive team, Graham should dunk him over the goalpost.