Graham’s contract status somehow stays under the radar


When a high-profile player enters the last year of his contract, it’s usually a big deal.

“Usually” is the operative term because, when it comes to Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, no one seems to notice that one of the best young players in the NFL is careening toward free agency, with no sign that the Saints can or will give him a new deal.

A third-round pick in 2010, Graham has seen New England 2010 second-rounder Rob Gronkowski and New England 2010 fourth-rounder Aaron Hernandez get long-term deal after the 2011 season.  You know, the same season in which Graham ping-ponged with Gronk for the single-season tight end receiving yardage record.

To his credit, Graham doesn’t complain about the lack of a new contract.  His camp doesn’t piss and/or moan privately to the press about the team’s failure to shift the injury risk (see Gronkowski and Hernandez) away from a player who arguably has earned that privilege.

As a result, hardly anyone realizes Graham is in a contract year.  On Tuesday, he spoke to the media in connection with the team’s mandatory minicamp, and the transcript shows not a single question about his contract.  There’s also not a single answer alluding to his desire to get paid.

“Everything is going well,” Graham said.  “I’ve been in rehab and I’ve been getting stronger.  Right now I’m almost 100 percent.  Going into camp, I’ll be 100 percent.  It just feels good.  It just feels good to be healthy finally and back playing like myself. . . .  Now I am healthy and just looking to the future and looking to get back in the playoffs.”

If he performs well, the Saints will find themselves in a potential predicament.  A multi-million-dollar franchise-tag fight is looming on the question of whether he’s a tight end or a receiver (it surely is).

Regardless of how it’s resolved, the Saints may not have the cap room to use either level of the tag on Graham.  As Pat Yasinskas of recently pointed out, the Saints have $143.4 million in salary commitments for 2014.

With the cap at $123 million and only inching up, Drew Brees may need an explanation come March.

32 responses to “Graham’s contract status somehow stays under the radar

  1. If Bree’s needs an answer he should be referred to his contract as explanation exhibit A.

  2. That’s because he’s a cracker.

    See what I did there? Graham. Cracker.

    HA! HA! I slay myself.

  3. I’m 99.9% sure that Loomis will find a way to resign Graham to a long term contract. They will have to release some players next year and be really creative to do it but I think Graham is well worth it.

  4. icdogg says:
    Jun 4, 2013 7:02 PM
    That’s because he’s a cracker.

    See what I did there? Graham. Cracker.

    HA! HA! I slay myself.
    Please feel free!

  5. Don’t worry, for every catch or devastating block he makes, Payton and players will pay him cash bonuses.

  6. You don’t hear anything about it bc it’s not an issue. Saints can release Smith, Harper and Vilma next year (even with dead money calculated) and be under the cap. Saints aren’t going to let Graham walk.

  7. Does anyone really think the Saints won’t sign Graham next year? Of course they will.

  8. With franchise QB contracts TOTALLY out of control, the wave of the future is now: Overpay the QB, then have the rest of the schmucks scraping for table scraps~or trade them like Baltimore did to Anquan Boldin in order to appease HIGHLY overpaid, mediocre Joe Flacco.

    New Orleans, GB and Denver are already grossly overpaying their QBs, with ATL, Detroit and others soon to follow.

    Seahawks, Redskins and Colts fans, enjoy your team atmosphere while you can, because before long, one man~the QB, will almost completely destroy the team’s entire salary cap just to keep his and his agent’s egos in tact.

    And the sad thing about it is if that QB gets injured and is out for the year, you have nowhere to turn for help, except some lame career clipboard-holder, because you are financially smothered by your own franchise player. (See also the LA Lakers and Kobe Bryant’s $30 million salary cap-strangling, hemmorhaging contract).

    The Lakers will probably be a lottery team next year with Bryant out and Dwight Howard on his way out of town. Then, they can blow it up and regroup in 2014. I just feel a lot of NFL teams are heading in that same direction: Financial purgatory because of one player~the QB.

    If I’m a running back, wide receiver or O-lineman, I wouldn’t be a happy camper making low six figures while the QB is getting all the glory~and nine-figure contracts. I’m just saying…

  9. 4thqtrsaint says:
    Jun 4, 2013 7:37 PM
    Vilma, Smith & Harper will all be gone after this year. There’s your money.
    Will Harper’s neck go too? That thing is a different animal with a separate contract

  10. So he’s from Miami and his contract is up as the ‘Fins need more weapons for Ryan Tannehill? INTERESTING.

  11. Jimmy Graham is the TE he is today because of his work with Drew Brees and to his credit, he knows that. He’s the best TE in the game today and is part of a wave of TEs redefining the position. By the time he’s done Gronk will be a footnote and Tony Gonzalez will be asking himself why the hell he was stupid enough to come back for that last year. Loomis is a great GM and he’ll get him signed. Coach is back…WATCH OUT NFL! I got a taste for some dirty bird!

  12. *sigh*

    You guys at PFT never learn your lesson, do you?

    You continually post about how the Saints are doomed because they are in cap hell and can’t re-sign all their players, yet every single year they sign everybody they want to keep (or find a great replacement, see Nicks for Grubbs), and STILL manage to sign multiple free agents to help the team.

    When are you guys going to learn? Seriously. It’s getting old and boring.

  13. Jimmy is gonna sign and will be wearing the Black and Gold as long as Drew Brees wearing the Black and Gold.

    GM Loomis is a smart man and it will be a tough negotiation but, in the end, Jimmy Graham will be playing for the New Orleans Saints for the foreseeable future.

    Book it.

  14. The aints just might mess up and let Graham leave and join the falcons next season and be the air apparent to Tony Gonzalez!! Just a thought aints fans!! 🙂

  15. This is an attempt to fabricate an issue or controversy. Just move along, there’s nothing to see here. No one appreciates Jimmy Graham more than Brees, Payton, Benson and Saints fans. They won’t let him go to another team. Mickey Loomis is the NFL’s best GM and he’ll figure out a way to pay his best players, as he has done before.

  16. If the Saints sign anybody they choose to how come they dont sign anyone that is respectable for that NFL breaking piss poor defense?

  17. Whatever kind of a deal everything thinks he deserves right now, is going to pale in comparison to the deal h’ll be looking at after this season.
    He was a second round pick because he was completely inexperienced. Does anyone think he’s hit his ceiling yet????

  18. Yeah really. Bree’s will restructure to keep him. It’ll be done by the season.

  19. You do realize that they were over the cap this year right? And now they’re under by over $5 Million… AMAZING it’s almost like magic.

    Jimmy Graham isn’t going anywhere, he’d been quoted before as saying he might hang it up when Brees does. So unless Brees is leaving, JG is staying.

  20. Loomis will pull his magic trick again and get Graham a new contract and they somehow, someway will be under the cap. That all is a given.

    If Brees needs to restructure to keep Graham, he will. Graham is a big asset to the team, and to New Orleans and the surrounding area. A good, truthful, and honorable man.

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