Two days after Saints quarterback Drew Brees called Jimmy Graham a tight end, a term that carries a certain sensitivity given the looming application of the franchise tag, Brees made it clear that, regardless of label, Brees want Graham to remain with the team.
Appearing on Friday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, Brees channeled his inner Tom Cruise and climbed on furniture to profess his devotion to Graham.
“I want Jimmy back!” Brees said. “I want Jimmy Graham back!”
As we surmised the other day, Brees surely didn’t intend his remarks to Erik Kuselias of NBC Sports Radio to reflect an assessment of whether Graham should be tagged at the tight end level or the much more lucrative (by roughly $4.5 million in 2014) receiver range.
“It doesn’t really matter what I say,” Brees said. “That has no bearing on the rules of how he’s designated.”
Brees is right. The labor deal contains a very basic formula, hinging the classification on the position at which Graham took the most snaps. The Saints will argue that the modern tight end position includes having the player line up tight to the tackle at times and in the slot at times and wide at times.
In the end, and barring a deal between the Saints and Graham, an arbitrator will resolve the situation. Unless someone else offers Graham a long-term deal the Saints choose not to match, accepting a pair of first-round picks instead.