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Teammate on Jimmy Graham: Welcome to the business of football

grahamwatson AP

Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, who is atop the depth chart as long as Jimmy Graham remains unsigned, says Graham has learned a valuable lesson this offseason: Even if your team appreciates the work you do, they’ll fight as hard as they can to pay you as little as they can.

Asked about Saints coach Sean Payton testifying against Graham at an arbitration hearing, Watson said that’s just the way management handles contract negotiations.

Welcome to the business side of football,” Watson told ESPN. “And a lot of times we don’t see this part because rarely does a situation make it all the way to arbitration. But that’s the business side of football. And it’s kind of no different than a contract situation where there’s a heated discussion over contracts, things are said back and forth. And in the end both sides are able to amicably move on and back to the business of football once there’s an agreement in place. But I’m with you. I was thinking much the same thing when I heard that Coach Payton was having to testify, and I don’t know if he was testifying on his own accord or was being forced to, and I also don’t know what conversations he’s had with Jimmy since then and where their relationship stands. But I do know that if and when Jimmy makes it back, and hopefully sooner than later, things will be smoothed over and we’ll get to trying to play Saints football and winning championships.”

The best-case scenario for the Saints is that they can reach an agreement on a long-term contract with Graham. If Graham ends up playing this season on the tight end franchise tag, he may wait until after training camp to report, and he may be disgruntled by his experiences with the business of football.

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50 Responses to “Teammate on Jimmy Graham: Welcome to the business of football”
  1. thepftpoethasneverkissedagirl says: Jul 12, 2014 10:16 AM

    Jimmy is tight end…
    Jimmy wants money…
    Jimmy is angry…
    they taking food off of Jimmys table…

  2. uglydingo says: Jul 12, 2014 10:20 AM

    Jimmy is the top TE in the NFL but the franchise tag will cost him over $3M per season what he could have earned and what he is worth in a free market. The Saints need to pay up or they will live with the consequences.
    Graham could still win his appeal. This story is not over.

  3. trollingforjustice says: Jul 12, 2014 10:24 AM

    what they are paying him now could feed all of a third world country

  4. berniemadoffsides says: Jul 12, 2014 10:29 AM

    Just pay the man already – he’s earned it.

  5. uncletuna says: Jul 12, 2014 10:32 AM

    Watching Graham go through this has been unfortunate, but the Saints have max contracts with Brees, Evans and Grubbs and have been forced to roll money each season to pay as many players, keeping the team in tact…

    There’s no question Graham deserves more, it’s just what is available to allow the team to be competitive for more than one season…

    Gonzalez, Gates, Gronk and Graham didn’t revolutionize the position as it had been done long before by Don Coryell’s use of Kellen Winslow Sr, but they showed the importance and will pay the price for less deserving players to reap the rewards…

  6. watchfullhose says: Jul 12, 2014 10:39 AM

    If I’m Jimmy Graham (and I’m most certainly NOT), there’s no way I’d ever sign long term with the Saints after they literally fought tooth and nail to keep from paying me. the coach, the owner, the gm…everyone.

    IMHO, the only chance the saints have is to sign this kid to a long term deal BEFORE THIS SEASON. Otherwise, their stuck franchising he every year and he’s gone as soon as he can leave.

  7. brocattosbasement says: Jul 12, 2014 10:40 AM

    The Saints aren’t exactly fighting to pay Jimmy as little as they can. The offer currently on the table would make him the highest paid TE in the league…by far.

  8. thevikesarebest says: Jul 12, 2014 10:52 AM

    The MVP of the pro bowl Kyle Rudolph =leader in receiving yards for TE next year.SKOL

  9. chc4 says: Jul 12, 2014 10:52 AM

    Why is everyone dumping on the Saints? THEY WERE RIGHT!! Graham is to blame for this fiasco. He is a TE. I never blame a guy for wanting to get paid but gotta do it within the confines of the CBA. He made some silly argument that he’s a WR even though his own twitter page states he’s a TE.

    Funny how a bunch of the people posting above are so generous with other people’s money. Are you that loose when it’s your wallet?

    Btw I hate the Saints. But in this case they were 100% right and Graham made a fool of himself.

  10. liltifer says: Jul 12, 2014 10:57 AM

    “Watching Graham go through this has been unfortunate”

    Yes, it’s pretty inhumane how they are going to give him millions. My heart hurts for him…

  11. ygar72ygar says: Jul 12, 2014 11:02 AM

    While Ben Watson wants to educate Jimmy Graham on the business of football, he should also get educated on the public relations side of the business of football…. the side that says the millions of fans out there do not ever like hearing an NFL player complain about not being paid as much as they want.

  12. axx1 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:04 AM

    Jimmy speak in 3rd person whenever jimmy wants too

  13. erle1139 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:06 AM

    As much as I love football, I don’t like how the players complain and whine as if they’re not making enough money. It seems awfully greedy to me when someone is getting paid millions but complains it still isn’t enough. Maybe they forget how lucky they are to make enough money in the few years they play a game to never have to work again. I would really hate to see some of these entitled prima donas have to make it in the real world.

  14. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 12, 2014 11:11 AM

    I think the best case scenario for the Saints is to try and find out if some team will greatly overpay for him in trade, and then to trade him to that team.

  15. seatownballers says: Jul 12, 2014 11:19 AM

    Great player. Garbage attitude

  16. johnnyjagfan says: Jul 12, 2014 11:20 AM

    This isn’t Jimmy’s personality. It’s his agent and likely other TE’s telling him to be the guy to break up this barrier between the salary cap difference between WRs and TEs.

    Jimmy in Jacksonville! Play for the TE tag and come to the First Coast and cash in!

  17. burtmurphy1 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:21 AM

    JG is being greedy? The saints aren’t trying to low ball him?

    Look at the facts.

    For years, Jimmy was told that he had to “wait his turn”, while the “best cap man in football” signed all of these other players to deals.

    Now, the saints (and their fans) are saying that he should be happy being the highest paid TE at 9.5 million… when he could be the highest paid TE at 12.5 million on the open market.

    Also keep in mind that he’s 27 now, this is essentially his last chance to get a max contract. At 30 – 31, no one will pay him 12.

    How in the world is that fair to Graham? He played for peanuts for 4 years… And never complained (to my knowledge). Now he’s supposed to just shut up and take what they give him? Look at his production. Do you really think a team, say the Browns, wouldn’t give him 12 million TODAY?

    And Watson doesn’t know much about the “business of football”. He’s never been good enough for people to even care. Essentially to me the problem is that Jimmy knows he’s worth around 12 million, but because of the franchise tag rules, the saints know they can low ball him into taking 9.5… and that ain’t right.

    But what do you expect from Payton and Loomis.

  18. whodat5150 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:32 AM

    As Mr. Watson said, this is the business side of the game. I don’t blame Jimmy Graham for trying to get the WR money bc it pays him more. And I don’t blame the Saints for wanting to pay him TE money bc it pays less than the WR position. When you make money based on your athletic ability or looks, there is a shelf life on your ability to do so. So most people will do their best to get as much as they can, while they can. The Saints have already said they’re more than willing to make Graham the highest paid TE in the game. They’re just not willing to give him WR money to make that happen. Let’s hug it out, sign the contract and GEAUX SAINTS!

  19. richc111 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:35 AM

    “they’ll fight as hard as they can to pay you as little as they can” He must have left out the part about players fighting as hard as they can to get the most money they can. Funny we had a union where I use to work and the thing is if any of them owned their own business they would do the exact same thing. You telling me that Ben Watson owned a team he would just go to the meeting and ask the player what he wanted and then sign the check over to him. I think not

  20. seahonky says: Jul 12, 2014 11:39 AM

    Who dat? Nobody besides Brees and Graham.

  21. deadeye says: Jul 12, 2014 11:46 AM

    Jimmy is getting frustrated!

  22. sbc85 says: Jul 12, 2014 11:48 AM

    watchfullhose says: Jul 12, 2014 10:39 AM

    If I’m Jimmy Graham (and I’m most certainly NOT), there’s no way I’d ever sign long term with the Saints after they literally fought tooth and nail to keep from paying me.

    =====

    Pretty sure they are trying to pay him with a $10 million contract offer on the table. But I guess that is some people’s definition of trying to pay “as little as they can.”

  23. rextraordinaire says: Jul 12, 2014 11:52 AM

    Will people stop saying “max contract”?!

    This isn’t the NBA dufus

  24. therealhardt says: Jul 12, 2014 11:54 AM

    burtmurphy1 says:
    Jul 12, 2014 11:21 AM

    “And Watson doesn’t know much about the “business of football”. He’s never been good enough for people to even care. Essentially to me the problem is that Jimmy knows he’s worth around 12 million, but because of the franchise tag rules, the saints know they can low ball him into taking 9.5… and that ain’t right.”

    Watson is entering his 11th year in the league, he originally enrolled at Duke before transferring to Georgia, where he majored in Finance and he scored a 48 on the wonderlic. Watson is very articulate and intelligent. You can have your own opinion – but claiming Watson doesn’t know much about the business of football is ignorant.

    And PS – Jimmy and his agent understand the rules of the franchise tag, and the NFLPA agreed to these rules. If he feels they are unfair, he is free to seek employment in another profession.

  25. clssylssy says: Jul 12, 2014 11:55 AM

    This isn’t high school, it’s a billion dollar business, with the money going into the pockets of the Owners and NFL, not the guys actually doing the work. Graham is a specialist and should be paid accordingly not by some ill gotten formula benefiting the owners and management. What I’m wondering is how does Peyton testifying FOR management against one of his most valued players really resonate within the team who have held the belief that he was THEIR ally? I can’t help but think that this is going to have some residual effect between the players and coach.
    Seems this has gone way beyond “hugging it out”and was an extremely stupid situation set into motion by the Saints management. I wouldn’t consider Graham the greatest TE of all time but he certainly has contributed heavily to the Saints making the playoffs and deserves better than he’s being treated.

  26. brokebackbrees says: Jul 12, 2014 11:56 AM

    What Watson meant to say was: ” welcome to a classless organization, we haven’t done anything since the bounty program.”

  27. Noel Thomas says: Jul 12, 2014 12:04 PM

    erle1139 says: “see some of these entitled prima donas have to make it in the real world”

    No problem. There are grocery stores in every city that needs shelves stocked. And when they are too old to stock shelves, they can make a career change by learning the words, “Hello. Wlecome to Walmart.”

    Most football players are so full of themselve they cannot think striaght or make rational decisions. Gifted athleticly but without a lick of common sense. How many times do we hear of people who made millions of dollars and are broke or even in debt?

    Making the veteran minimum for one year would set me up for life. Put the $800,000 in a muteal fun. Keep my present job and use the interest/earnings off the $800,000 (which would be more than I make at my job) to live a life that has more than I need. (But then, I don’t make it rain, I don’t need 5 or 6 expensive cars, a $6 million dollar home, and I don’t have a posse to spend my money for me.

    It is beyond piggishness to complain and whine about being offer ONLY $6,000,000 a year.

  28. therealhardt says: Jul 12, 2014 12:06 PM

    clssylssy says:
    Jul 12, 2014 11:55 AM

    “This isn’t high school, it’s a billion dollar business, with the money going into the pockets of the Owners and NFL, not the guys actually doing the work.”

    with salary cap floor and ceiling rules – it’s really more about ensuring you have funds to pay multiple players well – and not shoot your load on 2 or 3. thus, this isn’t about Benson trying to pocket what he doesn’t give to Graham.

    “Graham is a specialist and should be paid accordingly not by some ill gotten formula benefiting the owners and management.”

    the formula is part of the CBA, which the NFLPA agreed to, which Graham is a member of – thus, yes it is about the formula, and if the NFLPA didn’t thing it was fair they could have not signed the CBA.

    “What I’m wondering is how does Peyton testifying FOR management against one of his most valued players really resonate within the team who have held the belief that he was THEIR ally? ”

    who signs his checks? it’s really that simple.

    I wouldn’t consider Graham the greatest TE of all time but he certainly has contributed heavily to the Saints making the playoffs and deserves better than he’s being treated.

    $9.5-10 Mill a year, as the Saints are offering, is pretty fair considering Graham rarely blocks and disappeared in the playoffs.

  29. edavidberg says: Jul 12, 2014 12:14 PM

    The anti-Graham sentiment in these comments is disappointing. What has Graham ever done except reject a contract offer and argue what any other player would argue regarding the franchise tag? He has not publicly said anything about the issue and yet people are criticizing him for being greedy.

    Graham puts his body at risk to play for the Saints. He is the best tight end in the game and one of the best receivers. Why is he a bad guy for wanting a contract closer to that of a top WR ($15 million a year) as opposed to a top tight end ($8 million a year)?

    Meanwhile the Saints try to de-value him based not on his worth but on how opposing teams try and stop him. Look: teams don’t use safeties and linebackers to cover Graham because he’s not as good as wide receiver. They use safeties and backers because those players have the size to match up with Jimmy Graham. He would dominate most corners in the NFL by posting them up for grabs.

    Just because Aqib Talib had a good game against him doesn’t mean that he can’t beat corners. First of all, the Pats took Talib and focused their defense on him. It should have opened things up for other Saint players.

    Second, Talib when healthy is a top 3 or 4 corner in the game. He can defend more than just Jimmy Graham.

    I have to say that Graham has been as professional as you can be during this whole contract nonsense as the Saints have actively tried to smear his contributions in the press. I hope he holds out for free agency next year (which he can get if he changes his position on his twitter account this offseason) so he can show all the haters how much he is worth on the open market. It is more than $9 million a year, it would be closer to $13 million.

  30. geejon says: Jul 12, 2014 12:16 PM

    As bad as Graham feels is as bad as the Saints feel every team he completely disappears in the biggest games. Aqib Talib embarrassed him on national television and the Seahawks punked him TWICE on the national television.

    He’s a good player and puts up pretty numbers against average teams and helped by the offense the Saints run, but get a grip already.

  31. captainwisdom8888 says: Jul 12, 2014 12:17 PM

    All of this hoop-la over Graham’s contract and position eligibility will only help to sour the relationship between Graham and the Saints organization as a whole. I guarantee that one of the very few reasons Jimmy is staying put in New Orleans is the guy throwing him the ball. The Saints front office knew very well that having Drew Brees as their starter benefited them greatly from a leverage standpoint in contract negotiations. Graham was surely told that he could chase the money to a place like Buffalo…or he could be in a position to win a Super Bowl playing with Drew Brees. I would take a few less million and a potential Super Bowl ring every time.

  32. ausernamethatisavailable says: Jul 12, 2014 12:25 PM

    I love all the saints haters that only want jimmy to get more money so the saints have less to spend elsewhere. I get it, I certainly want Russell Wilson and earl Thomas to take Seattle to the bank. However please know that when you make these comments you are letting everyone know that you are concerned bc you are a little scared of these teams and would really like them to be weaker.

  33. brokebackbrees says: Jul 12, 2014 12:25 PM

    Top Qbs in NFC south(that don’t use drugs)

    1. Matt Ryan
    2. Cam Newton
    3. Mike Glennon
    4. Josh McCowan
    5. T.j Yates
    6. Derek Anderson

  34. brokebackbrees says: Jul 12, 2014 12:46 PM

    Final standings for upcoming season (for non drug user teams) in the NFC south.

    Carolina 11-5
    Tampa Bay 10-6
    Atlanta 8-8

  35. djaehne says: Jul 12, 2014 12:49 PM

    Just like andre Johnson, why don’t the saints
    just let him go so he can earn what he’s worth.
    Come on saints fans, show your real support and
    say he needs to be cut so he’s a free agent. He’s been so good to the organization for so long…
    Free Johnny! Free Andre!

    Same stuff.

  36. gtodriver says: Jul 12, 2014 1:02 PM

    As the franchise tag is about $7 mil for a TE and $12 mil for a WR – and Graham is a TE – it appears thatthe Saints offer of $9.5 mil is extremely fair.

    Now that the arbitrator has confirmed that Graham is a TE, the Saints could legitimately reduce their offer.

    They haven’t. As a Vikings fan that hates the Saints, I have to admit the team is being more than fair to Graham. Mr. Watson make have book smarts, but it appears he lacks common sense.

  37. profish13 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:23 PM

    The player should try to get as much as possible in every situation and should try to use any loophole to do so. If you don’t like it, then move to a communist country.

    It’s amazing how people make players out to be bad guys for wanting as much money as possible. So it’s okay for the ones who actually get injured to not get paid the maximum, but the billionaire owners are entitled to every last dime?

    I just wish it was like this for every job, instead of having some random CEO make literally 100-500x more than an average employee of that company.

  38. whodat5150 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:27 PM

    Obviously my handle tells you who I cheer for but I call it like I see it. Jimmy Graham is a good TE but he is not a complete TE. IMO complete TEs, like Rob Gronkowski and J. Witten, do it ALL block and catch. Even though he’s not a complete TE, the Saints are still willing to make J. Graham the highest paid TE in the game. The few times that the Saints are in a power run formation, they bring in the other two TEs and Graham is on the bench. Jimmy take your money and get into camp on time.

  39. ebrownwareagle says: Jul 12, 2014 1:35 PM

    @ygar72ygar

    So you side with The Billionaire who charges you a Kings Ransom To Park, Ticket and Concessions. All of which goes into HIS POCKETS. Lol Flawed logic but ok. Only in America.

  40. chris6523 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:37 PM

    Jimmy is tight end…
    Jimmy wants money…
    Jimmy is angry…
    they taking food off of Jimmys table…

    _________________________________

    Yeah, I can see Jimmy Graham sitting at home eating a plate of generic mac and cheese because he just couldn’t afford to spring for the ribeye he would have preferred to eat.

  41. radar8 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:42 PM

    The days of paying everyone what they’re worth is gone. Welcome to the Salary Cap.

    Each team only is allowed to spend so much on salaries. When one player asks for more, it is at the expense of the other players.

    So when a player says “I deserve to get paid more” it is with the unspoken reality of “and they deserve less”. Sometimes the highest-paid players take a cut to help others on the team, but that doesn’t happen too often anymore.

    I think that Boone is wrong to do this. Yes, he is worth more, but if he wasn’t, would he give the organization money back? I doubt it.

    Players like Boone need to structure their contracts to include performance bonuses. He didn’t.

  42. radar8 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:46 PM

    Graham is not worth the money. The NFC West has figured how to stop Graham. A little press-coverage and Graham is a non-factor.

    And Graham can’t even block. Get physical with Graham and he’s worthless.

  43. radar8 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:49 PM

    watchfullhose says: Jul 12, 2014 10:39 AM

    If I’m Jimmy Graham (and I’m most certainly NOT), there’s no way I’d ever sign long term with the Saints after they literally fought tooth and nail to keep from paying me.
    ——————————————————–

    YOu obviously have no idea what the word “literally” means. Unless N.O. management got in a ring with Graham and bit and scratched him, they didn’t “literally” fight tooth and nail.

    Lean the English language before you attempt to use it.

  44. jerlee7 says: Jul 12, 2014 1:51 PM

    Stop pretending any of you players are “underpaid”!

  45. ffpessimist says: Jul 12, 2014 4:43 PM

    Why would Graham want to sign a long term deal with a coach who testifies and make sure he and his family get the least amount of money? Play your year out and bolt my friend.

  46. guiness17 says: Jul 12, 2014 5:59 PM

    I wonder why no other team has made him an offer – it is the non-exclusive tag he has.

  47. udontknowjaq says: Jul 12, 2014 6:17 PM

    ebrownwareagle says:
    Jul 12, 2014 1:35 PM
    @ygar72ygar

    So you side with The Billionaire who charges you a Kings Ransom To Park, Ticket and Concessions. All of which goes into HIS POCKETS. Lol Flawed logic but ok. Only in America.
    ___________________________________

    Last I remember during the last CBA the Owners and Players signed the take was almost split down the middle. Its a domino effect, so when the player, like JG wants more than he is worth & fans like you want them to pay what he wants, a Kings Ransom.. That’s when the owners charge you the Kings Ransom.. The GB Packers made a profit of like 53 million after paying the players, taxes or whatever. So Also in America, owners of most businesses try to get maximum production from employees & pay as little as they can!

  48. larryjames836 says: Jul 12, 2014 6:42 PM

    Like some of the comments said this business look players owners pays you, you don’t pay owners. To be honest New Orleans Saints to me is one of the best ran organizations in the NFL. Everybody wants more money but let me tell you something money comes with a price tag, if you feel as if you are hurt and the physicans feel you are able to play you will be on that field. The money got you out there today’s football is about money and lest hitting, lets go back some decades you had more hitting with lest money now that was good football. Be honest in your dealing if you come in the league as a TE that’s what you are, you want more money don’t go in telling yourself you are a WR when you know what you are GM, Owner, Coaches, and your agent knows what you are you are hurting yourself. Everybody in the Saints front office knows how well you play so let them bring a offer to the table, if they offer to make you the highest paid TE in the NFL take it. No they not going to let you beat them because they have other players that need to be paid.

  49. jimmy28031 says: Jul 12, 2014 10:05 PM

    ebrownwareagle says:
    @ebrownwareagle says this:
    @ygar72ygar

    So you side with The Billionaire who charges you a Kings Ransom To Park, Ticket and Concessions. All of which goes into HIS POCKETS. Lol Flawed logic but ok. Only in America.

    Ok, got it! Take your leftist, commy, propaganda and go!! This is a football topic, not your 99% bull!! But since you did go there with your leftist puke-olla, let me try to educate you–
    First, the billionaires you speak of do not put all the money in there pockets, they put all the money into there checking accounts. And here is what they do with that money you hate them having. 1. They Pay every employee at the stadium to WORK on Sundays. 2. They pay every other player not named Jimmy Ghram to suit up and play on Sundays. 3. They pay for health ins for every employee at there stadium. 4. They pay the power bill, water bill, sewer bill, and phone bill for the stadium. 5. They pay for security at the stadium. 6. They pay local taxes in the thousands. 7. They pay state taxes in the multi thousands to millions. 8. They pay fed taxes in the millions so that people across this country who are healthy can sit on there butts at home, and claim they can not find a job, can eat, pay there rent, and watch football games on Sundays!! Those same people get on sites like this and put down the very people who make there lives easyier by paying the taxes on the billions they so call stuff into there pockets. It makes no sence to me that people put done the rich, and talk about the people who are collecting unemployment checks for 99+ weeks as if they were the ones to look up to?? That’s nuts!! I want to be the one who makes the money not the one who has to suck from the teet of the one who makes the money or the gov. So why not look up to the money makers?? Maybe you can learn something from them, like how hard they worked to make the money they get, and how much they spend of that money for the betterment of so many that work for them! Yes, they make a good living, but to say they just stuff the money in there pockets like some evil thief who takes the money from the labor of others and gives nothing in return!! If you look closely, what you believe the billionaires are doing, as far from the truth as that is, it is infact what country’s like Russia, China, and other communist country’s do to there people, and those are country’s that libs want to turn our country into. Next time, think before you speak and make yourself look foolish.

  50. Magyver says: Jul 14, 2014 8:18 AM

    brokebackbrees says:
    Jul 12, 2014 12:46 PM

    “Final standings for upcoming season (for non drug user teams) in the NFC south:

    Carolina 11-5
    Tampa Bay 10-6
    Atlanta 8-8

    ==================================
    (Police megaphone) “Put down the crack pipe, and step slowly away”

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