Mickey Loomis is confident a deal will be reached with Jimmy Graham

Reuters

The Saints have applied the franchise tag to tight end Jimmy Graham.  The NFL’s Management Council has concluded that Graham is indeed a tight end and not a receiver for purposes of the tag.

As to what happens next, Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis isn’t really sure.

“We haven’t been through this process [before],” Loomis told Rich Gannon and Bruce Murray of SiriusXM NFL Radio.  “All we do is franchise him, and it’s out of our hands.”

Pressed for details on the actual procedure for making the case for tight end versus receiver, Loomis likewise explained that the Saints are in uncharted waters.

“I haven’t been through this process,” Loomis said.  “That remains to be seen.”

Loomis nevertheless remains confident that things will work out.

“These negotiations are always a process, and Jimmy’s been a great player for us for the last four years,” Loomis said.  “Look, I had hoped and I’m sure he had hoped we’d come to some conclusion on a longer-term deal before this.  But we haven’t yet, and hopefully we will. . . .  We’ll just let it play out, and I’m sure we’ll get something resolved.”

Absent a resolution in the near term, the question of whether Graham should get the tight end tender of $7.035 million or the receiver tender, which is $5.277 million higher, will be resolved by a System Arbitrator.

The question ultimately will turn on identifying “the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year.”  Put simply, Graham should argue that, when a tight end lines up in the slot, he’s a receiver.  The Saints will argue that, when a tight end lines up in the slot, he’s still a tight end.

According to Pro Football Focus, Graham lined up tight to the tackle 33 percent of the time in 2013, in the slot 45 percent of the time, and split wide 21 percent of the time.  The position into which those slot plays fits will determine whether Graham is a tight end or a receiver.

For both sides, it makes sense to control the outcome and strike a deal that pays Graham an annual rate in the middle of $7.035 million and $12.312 million per year.  If the Saints and Graham both feel confident in their position, there will be no middle ground.

Which means that both sides will be making a gamble on $5.277 million per year — which will quickly become a much larger number on a multi-year contract.

36 responses to “Mickey Loomis is confident a deal will be reached with Jimmy Graham

  1. You’re opening up a serious can of worms if Jimmy Graham is ruled to be compensated as a WR, and defining the TE position(along with others as well) moving forward will become more significantly up for debate…which is entirely unnecessary. Now you’re gonna have coaches refusing to use their TEs in certain formations because they know that if they line them up outside too often, than they are going to have to pay them more money as a “wide receiver.” It’s just silly…let’s not start down this path…

  2. Kyle Rudolph would be a better all around tight end if Brett Farve were throwing to him. The Vikings are doing great with that 8 million dollars extra cap space.

    Vikings > Saints in 2014 draft order.

    #NeverForgetYouFumbledAwayYourChanceAtASuperbowl

    Dip SKOL…

  3. He may have been split out wide more than lined up next to the tackle but he played every play as a tight end. No TE is worth $12 million, that’s just the fact of the matter.

    PS Kyle Rudolph is far superior to Graham as a player

  4. Jimmy’s b-ball background really showed itself this postseason.

    A guy who is inept at run blocking when in the 3-point stance & who also alligator arms it when a pass is thrown his way down the seams or in the middle of the field.

    One word: SOFT

  5. Soft like that Breezy guy who is at best, a mediocre QB outdoors in the elements.

  6. Lil’ Jimmy is just a basketball player trying to play football. Get tough with him and he folds. The exact opposite of 49ers legend Vernon Davis.

  7. RE: Jimmy’s b-ball background really showed itself this postseason.

    A guy who is inept at run blocking when in the 3-point stance & who also alligator arms it when a pass is thrown his way down the seams or in the middle of the field.

    One word: SOFT

    Played with a partially torn plantar fascia. Thats REALLY SOFT right?

  8. How long does the arbitration take? Timing is important, seemingly, because if he ends up as a WR Tag, the cap consequences could be considerable and affect Free Agency acquisitions.

    If he is a WR tag, does the team have the option to rescind or remove it w/o penalty or do they have to eat the 5M plus payment and cap hit?

  9. This is good news for Graham’s agent, he should turn up his level of demands for his client now that Loomis is so confident that a deal can be reached. This surely means that Loomis is now open-minded about accepting a pay rate that is closer to what WRs generally make since Graham’s agent isn’t expecting a deal until Loomis comes around to adopting that perspective. What took him so long to see this from Graham’s point of view? And congratulations to Graham and his agent for getting Loomis to cave in if I’m not premature on that.

  10. “I’m not afraid to say it, Jimmy Graham is overrated” – Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett

  11. Jimmy Graham is overrated. He racks up huge numbers against lesser teams but is not a big game player.

    The Saints’ 6 biggest games of the year were against SF, Seattle, Carolina x2 and then Philly in the playoffs and Seattle again in the playoffs. Jimmy Graham’s totals from those 6 games:

    24 catches, 266 catches, 4 TDs….average per game is 4 for 44 and .66 TDs.

    Not real impressive, huh?

  12. Yea jimmy didn’t play well against seattle. Playing him physically at the los is the way to do it. Unfortunatly not every team can do that. Jimmy also played on one foot for about half the year. And if I’m not mistaken seattle did that to a lot of players. Give me jimmy graham on one foot than 99% of the tes in the game. Hes staying in new orleans. Cap keeps growing. He will get his money. And I’m sure every team if they had the chance would take this “soft” player.

  13. Lets all just use some common sense here. Literally the word(s) Tight End refers to a receiver that lines up tight to the end of the offensive line. Wide receiver refers to a receiver that lines up wide of the offensive line.

    We can all agree that a TE is a receiver(Graham especially) so if he lines up tight to the end of the OL hes a TE if he lines up wider than that hes a WR. See how that works.

    If he lined up wide more often than he lined up tight to the end of the OL he is a WR. Pretty simple if you ask me.

  14. How does Kyle Rudolph even get in the conversation of Jimmy Graham?? The Vikings are a sorry excuse of a franchise. All I hear from the Vikqueens is crying about how they should have made it it the Super Bowl in 2009. Woulda Shoulda Coulda. Get over it. I will say it felt so good to see us knocking Farve around and Peterson buckle under the pressure.

  15. You can stop wondering about whether or not he’s a TE or a Wideout. He’s a tight end. Tight ends have been split out wide and in the slot since Shannon Sharp did it a hundred years ago 😉

    The question is do they want to pay him big bucks for one of the premier pass-catching TE’s in the league?

    If I were Mickey Loomis I’d be hoping the Seagulls sign him and give up their next 2 first round picks for him. They can use him and the Saints could certainly use 2 1R draft picks.

  16. When a viking fan cries about the NFCCG loss it makes me relive that glorious time for Saints fans all over again.
    Just like everytime I see/hear “skol”.
    It’s like christmas.

  17. I went to every game that you all list as the tough games that the a Saints played in and as an example in Seattle JG could not get off the field fast enough each and every offensive series? He would run to the sideline looking for the first equipment guy to wrap a coat around him and the get as close to the heater as possible? What a wimp… Could not get past the cold and play the game like a pro bowler should??? What a disappointment he was…..

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