Graham deal likely before April 22 grievance deadline


As the Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham continue to not have a long-term deal in place, the question becomes when the next real deadline applies for either side.

The next real deadline applies on or about April 22, when Graham must file a grievance regarding his designation as a tight end for franchise tag purposes.

Per a league source, the current expectation is that the Saints and Graham will finalize a long-term contract before Graham pulls the pin on a grievance grenade.

Once Graham files a grievance, the process will take on a life of its own, with more than $5 million turning on whether Graham lined up more as a receiver or a tight end for franchise tag purposes.  At that point, Graham has nothing to lose by letting it ride — especially once the process becomes adversarial in an industry where the bright line of winning and losing looms over everything else.

Graham can make a strong case for consideration as a receiver for tag purposes.  The Saints can make a compelling case, too, but they surely have no desire to draw battle lines with one of their best players.  That’s why it makes plenty of sense to resolve the situation before it can take a potentially ugly turn.

40 responses to “Graham deal likely before April 22 grievance deadline

  1. Dear Pro Bowl,
    I’d like to thank you for voting me in as a tight end, but I am really a receiver so I must humbly refuse your gracious invitation to Hawaii.
    Signed Jimmy Graham……..oh wait – he didn’t write that letter and decline? so he’s a tight end then. Period.

  2. These are strong refresher points. Graham might want to consider raising his current lowest offer by an extra 5% for good measure just to be on the safe side of not risking getting underpaid.

    Plus what happens if he signs a new deal and it comes time for the deal after that one, they are just going to try and beat his pay rate down when he’s much older and in probably a far less advantageous situation then. Either they should give compelling guarantees or he should maximize this contract as much as he can that way he has more room to work with them on the next deal with hopefully less aggravation. Maybe he will even offer the team a discount if things work out well and they treat him right on this deal.

  3. New Orleans signs Graham with what money??? They have an estimated $2.1M in cap space since they are only taking a $3.5M hit this season for Byrd…..

  4. This is stupid… The real question is if Graham would win the grievance (unlikely because Gonzalez, Gates and Finley all line up more in the slot) can he truly get top WR money in the open market?

    Doubtful, because his production equals a top slot receiver, like Victor Cruz or Wes Welker. So that would put him in a lower range.

    But what if Graham lose the grievance. That would be a huge loss. He could be tagged 3 times in a row for about what he would get guaranteed on a top TE contract.

  5. He is already disgruntled. So once a disgruntled employee stays on the payroll, they are never the same. Even if they get what they want, they always have in the back of their mind, a dislike for the situation they are in. Might as well send him packing.

  6. Graham will become highest paid Tight End, rendering all of the articles about the semantics of the franchise tag moot.

  7. Jimmy wanna play football with Drew and Sean. Jimmy don’t wanna play for a loser team.
    Jimmy wanna win football games.

  8. I don’t know why everyone thinks Graham is great. The guy folded like a cheap tent in his team’s most important game of this past season. And he folded AFTER trying to act like the tough guy before the game and make like he was going to scorch the LOB.

  9. “New Orleans signs Graham with what money??? They have an estimated $2.1M in cap space since they are only taking a $3.5M hit this season for Byrd…..”

    GIVE IT A REST!!!!!

  10. ^That’s with Graham’s franchise money already figured in.

    People have said all offseason and for each of the last four offseasons the Saints were in cap hell, well guess what? As usual, they have re-signed everybody they needed, signed a couple of choice outside free agents at areas of need and still have plenty of room to maneuver.

  11. He has no pride in TE contracts. His would push up the TE average. He is screwing all his peers. Next thing, he will want to be called a quarterback because he took a direct snap once.

  12. Good receiver, overrated Tight End. Can’t block to save his life. Such a liability in the running game, that Sean Payton takes him out of the game when the Saints are running, which makes their offense very predictable. Defenses can key off on Graham. When he’s off the field, they’re running 90% of the time. Also, if Jimmy realizes he isn’t the first or 2nd read he takes plays off. Give me Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, or Rob Gronkowski over this wuss!

  13. Jimmy Graham can only pray that he’ll be half the TE Kyle Rudolph is. Mark my words, next year, Rudolph will lead all TEs in receiving touchdowns, thus paving the way to a purple and gold super bowl

  14. This will be interesting to watch. Tom Benson is probably one of the tightest fist owners in the NFL next to Mike Brown and Jerry Richardson.

  15. Jimmy Graham can only pray that he’ll be half the TE Kyle Rudolph is. Mark my words, next year, Rudolph will lead all TEs in receiving touchdowns, thus paving the way to a purple and gold super bowl

  16. All the Saints have to say is that they put him in the position to maximize his abilities in order for him to be the best paid TE. Or Payton says every time he lined up,it was a trick play,and he was the third option.

  17. Saints don’t want it to go to grievance because Jimmy Graham has a good case and could win (and they have already spent the difference signing Jarius Byrd and resigning Strief).
    Saints are very close to the cap and they have to also sign the players they will draft.
    Mickey Loomis is the master of playing with the salary cap but he is playing russian roulette this time. Fact – if Graham had been permitted to go to the market and seek bids for his services, he would have been paid significantly more because for the bulk of the snaps he plays like a 6’8″ receiver.
    Is there another team that has the cap space to take on an additional big amount? Let’s bring this forward and grab the popcorn.

  18. This really isn’t rocket science, if no deal is reached. You resolve it by giving a percentage of each franchise tag designation. If he played TE 60% of the time it would probably be determined that he get that portion of the TE salary combined with 40% of the rate of the WR franchise tag amount.

  19. > New Orleans signs Graham with what money???

    They have 7 million dedicated to Graham for the franchise tag genius. They will actually gain money on a cap friendly deal.

  20. As a Saints fan this is getting old, either sign him or try trading him, but distractions is not something this team needs right now…

  21. Split the cap figure between the two positions. Do a Brees-like contract with a huge signing bonus (doesn’t count against the cap). Get it done.

  22. The Saints have Jimmy’s CAP allotment for this year, set aside, the $2.1 M noted above includes Graham’s numbers for this year. A slow rendition of When the Saints go Marchin In should be playing in the background.

  23. Anyone wants to trade their whole draft for this guy and I’d take it. Otherwise, franchise him next year too and then let him walk.

  24. At this point, hasn’t anyone who’s job it is to analyze and write about football done the film work to determine whether or not he lined up at TE or WR more in situatuations that will be considered “for tag purposes”??

    “He could make a case, and the saints could make a case.” Ok, But what’s the answer?

  25. I wouldn’t screw around with Graham if I’m NOLA but they screwed around with Brees until the last second. Why expect a different approach? This will all be solved in time for football. Folks on this thread act like March is crunch time or something. We haven’t seen MLBs first pitch this season. Calm yourselves.

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