With six days to go until the deadline for applying the franchise tag, the Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham remain far apart on a long-term contract.
According to Mike Garafalo of FOX Sports, the current gap stands at several million dollars. Per year.
Garafolo pegs the likelihood of Graham leaving the Saints at zero percent, predicting that Graham and the Saints are headed for a franchise-tag fight. As we’ve previously explained, however, there’s a chance that a franchise-tag fight will result in Graham leaving the Saints.
If the Saints tender Graham as a tight end, Graham will file a grievance under the labor deal, arguing that he’s actually a receiver. If the Saints lose, Graham likely will argue that the Saints shouldn’t be permitted to re-issue the tender at the much higher receiver amount, since the deadline for using the franchise tender will have passed.
The end result could be a decision that the NOS are SOL, and that Graham is an unrestricted free agent. At that point, Graham would be able to sign with anyone — and the Saints would be entitled to no compensation.