All offseason, the concern for the Saints was whether they could make the numbers work with *tight end Jimmy Graham.
But when he showed up for work, he posted another number that reminded them of his value.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Graham had the “low time” in the team’s pre-camp conditioning test.
“That was significant. I told him to stay in Miami every offseason,” Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “I mean, it was outstanding.”
Both Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis said the difficult negotiation (which led to discussions of how far he lined up from the tackle) was simply part of the process, and the $10 million a year deal now has everyone happy.
“Look, it was a tough negotiation, obviously, but it ended well,” Loomis said. “Obviously going to an appeal hearing over the position argument was unique. But otherwise it was a negotiation. You know, all of these negotiations are tough. Obviously when it’s a high-profile guy, there’s more written about it. And those are personal issues for the players, in particular, and we understand that. But that’s behind us. We’re glad to have it done. I’m sure Jimmy’s glad to have it done.
“It’s just a process that we had to go through. And, look, I think both sides are pretty pleased with the outcome.”
Given that both Payton and Loomis testified in an arbitration hearing against Graham’s assertion that he should be a wide receiver for franchise tag purposes, there was the potential for awkwardness.
But now that business has been taken care of, they can get back to the business of football, and Graham is apparently ready.