Payton envisions Graham deal before grievance deadline

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The NFL continues to be a deadline driven business, and the looming deadline for Jimmy Graham’s grievance regarding his franchise-tag designation continues to be the deadline that will drive a likely long-term deal for him.

“I think you hit it on the head yesterday,” Saints coach Sean Payton told PFT Live on Tuesday, referring to our item explaining that a deal is likely before April 22.  “I think there is a talented tight end.  There’s a team where we see a clear role for what he does, and I think anytime you hit this point in the season with a franchise player, you and I could map it out and the only little thing or hitch here is there might be a debate as to the position he plays.  But that being said by the time we’re going into training camp he’ll be someone we’re throwing the ball to.”

The labor deal gives Graham 50 days to challenge the belief that he’s a tight end for tag purposes, from the March 3 application of the franchise tag.  While $5.2 million on a one-year deal hangs in the balance, Graham’s camp (as we understand it) intends to attempt to fashion an argument that erroneous application of the tag invalidates it, making Graham a free agent.

As Payton said, it’s not likely to happen.  The Saints and Graham are on track to work something out before Graham has to embark on a path that could lead to all sorts of unsavory consequences.

For the full Sean Payton interview from the league meetings in Orlando, click the box below.

14 responses to “Payton envisions Graham deal before grievance deadline

  1. Well sure because if they can’t figure out a deal by then, why would they figure out a deal later? If they can’t get the deal, then they might go to Plan B and just simply trade him. And they won’t get 2 1st Rounders. Maybe they should trade him for DeSean Jackson and see what else they can get from Philly. Evan Mathis is already another throw in option.

  2. Still not sold. This guy seems like a knucklehead…. one of those players who stops playing when he gets paid. Also seems injury prone. Wouldnt brake the bank.

  3. Unfortunately, he’s going to be asking for extra money to cover all the fines he gets for leading the league in penalties.

  4. Unbelievable negative comments. Injury prone? He played through foot and elbow injuries all year. Brat? he played lights out as the top tight end in football, and never complained once about playing on a fourth round rookie salary, or asking to restructure his original contract. His agent is trying to get him as much as possible, just like every other pro athlete…

  5. 87hollywoodhorn says: Mar 26, 2014 8:41 AM

    Dang, as a Saints fan, I was really hoping somebody would pony up those two first round picks. Look’s like we’re stuck with the big brat

    While I agree, I would prefer 2 first rounders to paying Jimmy $8mil + per year. I don’t think he’s a brat. I believe his agent is forcing him to play hardball, all for money.

    The guy grew up with NOTHING, and got by just fine. I am sure he can get by on *ONLY* $6mil per year also.

    Anyway, I had a vision of him in a Raiders uniform, and becoming insignificant. I believe that the biggest reason he’s a star is due to Coach Payton & Brees.

    If he understands that too, he’s not going anywhere.

  6. Good receiver, overrated Tight End. Can’t block to save his life! He’s so bad that Payton takes Graham out of the game when the Saints want to run the ball which makes their offense very predictable. Graham is also soft and never shows up against good teams like the Seahawks, Patriots, or 49ers. At least he scores td’s against the Bills, Jets, and Falcons. Three bad teams who didn’t make the playoffs.

  7. Most people on here are just haters and can’t stand to see someone making big money. Jimmy Graham could play for team any day. Jimmy Graham is not soft or is he a brat.

  8. thegrigga49 says:
    Mar 26, 2014 9:36 AM
    Why does Jimmy Graham act so tuff? To me he’s soft as a pillow.
    I just wish you could say that to his face… I’d love to be a fly on the wall to witness it..

  9. First off. For all you strategy experts, you cannot trade a player who isn’t under contract. Graham hasn’t signed the tender. Secondly, just give it up. No way the league could endorse a scenario whereby the league designates the position of the tagged player, where that designation is overturned and the player then becomes an UFA. Finally, Saints will make Graham the highest paid TE at around 10.5mm per year over 5/6 years with a 15mm signing bonus.

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