Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has spent the last couple of years not complaining at all about the team’s failure to reward his stellar play with a long-term extension. Even as players like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, drafted the same year as Graham, received their rewards after only two seasons, Graham didn’t say a word.
With his rookie contract completed and the franchise tag looming, Graham has broken his silence.
“I’m not keen on the franchise tag,” Graham recently told NFL Network, via ESPN.com. “That would be really unfortunate, but that is really all I have to say about that one.”
Graham shouldn’t be surprised. Two years ago, the Saints used the franchise tag on franchise quarterback Drew Brees, declining to sign him to a long-term deal until only days before the July deadline for working out a multi-year contract.
Graham has played it out this far, and barring the outcome of the Pro Bowl he has managed to make it to free agency at full health. He simply needs to let his agent navigate the process, fighting the tight end version of the tag if need be, and remain patient.
Unless Graham wants to leave — and some think there’s a chance another team may be willing to give up a pair of first-round picks to sign him away from the Saints — there’s no reason to get antsy now, not after playing two full seasons since the moment the 2010 rookie became eligible for a new contract he’s yet to get.