Jimmy Graham’s contract situation no longer is under radar. But the Saints tight end isn’t worried about entering the final year of his rookie deal without long-term (or even short-term) security.
“I don’t really think about that,” Graham said over the weekend regarding his contract, via comments distributed by the team. “I have a lot of pride in the way I play. I have a lot of pride on every down in the game. It doesn’t really matter what’s ahead of me. I focus on today and the next day and trying to make special plays to help this team win.”
It’s the right attitude. Until a guy dislocates a hip.
Still, Graham’s not thinking about that.
“I’m a humble kid from very humble beginnings and I feel blessed to be in the situation that I am in,” Graham said. “All I’m going to do is go out here and play football. I know that’s what I’m best at and I know the rest will just take care of itself.”
It needs to take care of itself sooner rather than later. With every rep of every practice and every snap of every game, Graham risks suffering the kind of injury that will lead the kid with humble beginnings to a humble ending, too.
G.M. Mickey Loomis recently said that management has discussed giving Graham a long-term deal, and the media is beginning to notice that Graham deserves more than he has received. The problem for Graham is that, by not complaining or politicking or threatening to hold out or actually holding out, Graham avoids being a squeaky wheel. Which makes it harder for him to get paid. Which in turn underscores his value to the team.
For any NFL team, it’s easy to take care of a great player who is causing a problem. The challenge comes from finding a way to properly and fairly compensate someone who isn’t particularly looking for more money.
Coach Sean Payton seems to realize that something needs to be done.
“I think all that stuff will get taken care of itself,” Payton recently told reporters. “A lot has been written because he’s coming into [a contract year], but we’ll handle that.”
In light of the rash of injuries the NFL has seen over the weekend, the sooner they take care of Graham, the better.