Saints haven’t reduced offer to Graham

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Contrary to reports, suggestions, and/or speculation that Wednesday’s ruling from arbitrator Stephen Burbank re-set the negotiations on a long-term deal between the Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham to square one, a source with knowledge of the discussions tells PFT that the Saints have not reduced or yanked their offer.

The Saints haven’t, and won’t, use the ruling that Graham is a tight end for franchise tag purposes to alter a proposal that would make Graham the highest-paid tight end in NFL history, with a package worth $9.5 million per year.

The Saints likewise have no animosity or frustration to Graham for attempting to advance an interpretation of the labor deal that would have entitled him to a franchise tender of $12.3 million.  The team understands that those efforts are part of the business of the sport, and the team believes that Graham’s camp realizes the same thing regarding the team’s efforts to keep the franchise tender at $7 million.

And the team remains very confident that a long-term deal will be reached by the July 15 deadline.  At $9.5 million per year with a considerable chunk of fully guaranteed money up front, Graham will have a hard time rejecting the offer and taking a year-to-year approach that would pay $7 million in 2014, $8.4 million in 2015, and quarterback money of $16 million or so in 2016.

That’s $30 million over three years, but with Graham carrying the injury risk each and every season.  If the Saints fully guarantee an amount equal or greater to the first two years ($15.4 million) and offer a total package in the range of $30 million over the first three years, it’s a no-brainer that Graham will take the offer.

He could still file an appeal and take his chances on the higher franchise tender before the three-person appeal panel, but he hasn’t done so yet.  He probably will if a deal isn’t reached before the 10-day deadline for filing an appeal.  The goal in delaying the filing of the grievance from late February to late April apparently was to ensure that the issue would not be completely resolved by July 15, guaranteeing Graham some extra leverage as his agents try to get the average value of the deal to $10 million or more.

Within 11 days, look for Graham and the Saints to finalize a long-term deal.  Which means that the tight-end-versus-receiver question for tag purposes won’t be officially resolved.  Which means that Julius Thomas or someone else may be fighting that battle again in the future.

54 responses to “Saints haven’t reduced offer to Graham

  1. Saints will make him the highest paid tight end. Both sides will be happy. He had to make this grievance because he had a reasonable chance to win. It’s a $5 mil difference! There is no reason to call one side greedy and the other side stingy, it’s business, people!!

  2. I detest the Saints since they’re an NFC South rival but I respect the fans as Americans. Working class fans and others pay a tidy sum in Graham jersey’s and Saints NFL tickets. They work hard for it. The league has ruled Graham is a TE. Appealing is Graham’s right. But these are the option and consequences:

    1. He can take the offer of $9.5 million a year, bow out of this now humbly–blue collar fans behind him as before and him still boasting he is “highest paid.”

    2. He can fight it, but the self-greed will be apparent. Worse, he will look like a fool when he loses and also alienate working class fans.

    Most people can’t fathom what to do with $9 million a year. If Graham thumbs his nose at it and keeps this issue brewing to camp while Saints fans scrimp to buy single games tickets, he’s going to lose a lot of respect. Take the money Jimmy. You’re still filthy rich; don’t make others lose respect for you.

  3. 2 Jimmmy Graham jerseys: $215. 2 tickets to a single Saints game: starts at $120. Parking, 2 beers, 2 hot dogs, popcorn: $45. Just spent $370 for one game to see/support Jimmy Graham and the Saints. That’s pretty much the average couple’s entertainment budget for a month or more. Fans could see and do a lot more if they made $9.5 million like Jimmy Graham could and took the deal. He’s best to take the deal and not look like a greedy fool.

  4. why don’t the saints cut graham and pick up Vernon Davis, i have a feeling we aren’t gonna be holding that contract much longer.

  5. Pathetic that they would make such a chump offer to one of their major playmakers and then give Darius Byrd, an unproven commodity with much less of a WOW factor $58M. Being the “highest paid tightend in the league means little when tightends are at the bottom of the NFL payscale behind kickers!

  6. This shows how horribly overpaid baseball players are as their league withers and recedes and guarantees huge contracts to out-of-shape do-nothing bums. I have no hate for football players as they earn every cent they get.

  7. If I’m Jimmy, I’m asking for a contract with at LEAST Mike Wallace money who is at 5 years $60M (12 per). You can’t convince me that Wallace is more valuable to an offense. It’s simple really, if you can do a job better than your peers, you should ask to be paid as much or more than them regardless of how many people in the world live on a dollar a day. You can always give some of it back with charity if you care.

  8. It was Graham’s responsibility as a player to raise the salary for tight ends. It was the Saints’ responsibility as a football organization to keep his salary in line with current standards. The NFL is a business and both sides will put this behind them.

  9. Who dat say they won’t play for dem Saints?
    Who dat who wearing no black and gold?
    Who dat who dat who dat who dat?
    Who dat say they won’t play for dem Saints?
    Jimmy…Who dat? Graham….Who dat?
    Black and gold got no Super Bowl; Black and Gold got no Super Bowl
    Saints….Who dat? Saints….Who dat? SAINTS WHO DAT?

  10. I still laugh so hard at people who bash the Saints for Drew Brees’ huge salary. Um, those same people are strangely silent on the contracts of say, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, and Colin Kaepernick.

  11. Bucs, Panthers, and Falcons fans everywhere are telling Jimmy to stick to his guns. Don’t sign. It’s better not to play than to give in. Tell ’em you want Drew Brees money or you aren’t playing.

  12. clssylssy

    Do you go on every article about Jimmy Graham and post pretty much the same comment ? Cause this is at least the 2nd one I’ve seen. Jairus Byrd is not unproven. Take his stats from when he came into the league (2009) till now and compare them to all other Defensive players from 2009 till now and he leads everyone. If that’s unproven then you need to grab a dictionary.

  13. 9.5 million? Of course he isn’t signing that.

    He’s worth, on the open market, about 12 million or so a year. This is his last chance at a huge pay day, and they are low balling him.

    Say what you want about him disappearing in big games. He often requires the opposing defense’s best defender or a double team. Yes, he can’t block but who cares? He’s opening the door for others to make plays.

    I’m a falcons fan, full disclosure, but he’s the best TE in football, and yes, better than most WRs. He deserves too WR money. Pay him, or let someone else pay him.

    That being said, he should probably sign the long term deal for guaranteed money. If the saints can guarantee 20 for the first two years, it’s better than being tagged.

  14. @ericbroe
    Jarius Byrd is unproven in the Saints scheme…and now it seems he even has a bad back! Really? Kinda looks like somebody didn’t do their due diligence! (Stats do mean jack if a player is broken) Just saying, Graham deserves to be disappoointed that the Saints didn’t value his contributions enough to “Show him the money”…lol.
    And, yes, I believe players should be paid for their merit and contributions. Larry Fitzgerald is making what some would consider QB money and restructured voluntarily so his teammates could get paid. Kinda thought Brees would be willing to do the same but guess actions speak louder than words!

  15. Graham may be inclined to take the deal, but I guarantee you he’s not feeling all rosy about having his coach testify against him. To think otherwise is to be naive and ignore that NFL is a dream… business, and business is about money.

  16. @clssylssy Bree’s has already said he would do whatever he can do to help the saints cap issues but the saints have yet to approach him about doing so, so you can’t really blame him for that. The saints cut a bunch of vets/fan favorites to make room for JG’s long term deal and if 9.5 mil a year for a TE isn’t showing JG the money then I don’t know what to tell you. If you think he is so valuable then call up your team and tell them to give up 2 first round draft picks and 12 mil a year for him.

  17. Wait a minute. All I have heard from PFT for months is how this ruling would cost JG/Saints $5mm. Now that the bell has been rung for months the fine print reads Saints have offered to make JG the highest paid TE in history paying him $9.5mm per year. So the Saints have offered to pay JG a “hybrid” salary which mathematically works out 65% of WR money and 35% of TE money. JG should be really insulted, if he listened to the yahoos on here.

  18. Something is wrong here. The Saints want to pay Graham only $9.5 million. That’s the cost of only 3 single game end zone tickets for an NFL game. Where is all the OTHER money going?

  19. Who dat not taking dem 10 millyun dahlahs.
    Who dat Jimmy, who dat Graham
    Who dat not wearing that black and gold
    Who dat Jimmy, who dat Graham
    Who won’t be catchin and a runnin dat ball
    Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Graham

  20. If Graham is looking for $12.5 Million a year or Calvin Johnson like money the Saints should move on. I think he’s a very good player & an exceptional athlete but I’ve also seen him get shut down. While his numbers are very impressive but they’re also a byproduct of the offense he’s playing in & who is throwing him the football.

  21. The Saints claim there’s no animosity, but what does Graham think? They use him more as a WR than a blocker, he scores and moves the chains, yet they want to pay him less. Then they use the head coach to testify against him. Yeah, no animosity there at all.

  22. Issue is dead. You won’t see it pushed again. You will see this clarified in the next round of labor negotiations. On this topic, the NFL isn’t going to let the lawyers have the last word, nor should they.

  23. Pay him his $10 million a year, more guaranteed, and get on with the business at hand. He is worth it , he has earned it as a prototype tight end and wide receiver (although I would like to see his blocking skills and toughness improve in playoff games, especially away from the friendly confines of the Superdome). He needs to come off the initial line hit better when running his routes from the outside in the playoffs.

  24. Unbelievable!!

    The NFL pays their WORTHLESS commissioner 44 million per year, and then expected teams to acquire 53 players for 130 million in salary cap. What a load of CRAP.
    Or how about cheerleaders who don’t even make minimum wage?

    America is ran by the golden rule: Them that got the gold makes the rules! The operative word is GREED!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Why is everyone saying that Graham should just take the 10 million?

    He’s worth 12 – 13 million on the open market. Who would take 25 percent less of their current salary?

    I mean, given the rules, Graham should sign. I expect him to in the next few days. It’s in his best interest to get more than the 15 guaranteed over the next few years.

    That being said, they (Loomis and Payton) are cheating that man out of money. And they know it.

    And people seem to be okay with it. Yes, he is a TE and under the CBA, should be franchised as one. But if I’m Jimmy, I wouldn’t like that Loomis seems to go on a shopping spree this offseason, yet can’t pay one of his stars what he is rightfully owed.

    Oh I get it. He should take a paycut for the good of the team? Isn’t that socialism?

  26. burtmurphy1,
    How do you get a “pay cut” or “25% less” out of “a proposal that would make Graham the highest-paid tight end in NFL history”?

    You and I have no idea what Jimmy Graham would be worth on the open market. Several players believed they would get more money only to find out they are still unemployed and there are a few like Mike Wallace that got paid a ton more than they should have.

    The Saints have offered him what he is worth. Maybe there is some wiggle room in the negotiations but I would guess he signs a deal close to that and both sides will be happy about it.

  27. cursedvikings1998 says:
    Jul 4, 2014 10:14 AM
    I still laugh so hard at people who bash the Saints for Drew Brees’ huge salary. Um, those same people are strangely silent on the contracts of say, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, and Colin Kaepernick.

    69 8
    Report comment


    yeah, I get your overall point…

    but Drew got $60 million guaranteed…

    Colin’s getting like $0.12 cents guaranteed…

  28. You can approximate.

    Wallace and Harvin get 12 and 13 million respectively. Do you think he deserves to be paid approximately that much?

    Knowing that, do you think either of those teams would trade those players for Graham? I think they would.

    I find it hard to believe that Graham wouldn’t command that on the open market. I mean, really. People want to pay him Jennings money, and he should take that because he’s a TE?

    And completely disregard his production?

    Ultimately, I don’t have a dog on this fight. I just think it’s funny that people want to call him (and Brees) greedy, when they are trying to get market value for their services.

    Also, I firmly believe he will sign a deal very soon. It’s in his best interest to do so. They’ll probably offer him a deal for 20 mill guaranteed in the first two years, and he’ll sign and probably hold out in year three (or four).

  29. Comparing him to Wallace and Harvin is where I think you are off. Those guys are overpaid for what their production has been and when compared to others of their position. JG is a TE and he has been offered a contract bigger than any other TE in history. I think Gronkowski is more productive in all aspects when he is healthy but he hasn’t been healthy lately. Should JG be paid more than him? I would say no but the NFL has a system that rewards other players later on for what current players manage to get. A main reason JG was even offered the 9+ million is because of Gronkowski’s contract (and others). The next set of TEs will benefit from Graham’s contract because he has been deemed a TE and therefor his contract will raise the franchise bar for those that follow. I am not saying he shouldn’t get paid for his production because he will be.

  30. I agree they are probably overpaid, but that isn’t my point.

    Market value dictates that someone paid those guys in that range, for a lot less production than Jimmy. If you look strictly at production, Graham definitely should be in “top receiver” talks.

    So, to me, that would suggest that some team, with a need at TE and 12 million in cap room, would gladly pay that for Jimmy’s production. To ask him to take less, because he happens to be listed as a TE, is criminal. Again, market value. If you don’t want to pay him, another team will.

    And two other points:

    I’m not sure who is better when healthy. While Gronk is better overall, jimmy is clearly the better receiver. Gronk didn’t get 9 million for his blocking ability.

    Secondly, Gronk’s contract, when signed, was not only the highest for a TE, it was also high for receivers at the time. Which is what I’m suggesting needs to happen here.

    Which is another point too. If the Saints would have paid Jimmy like 2 years ago, he might have taken a 9.5 million dollar deal. That would have been in line for the market then. Now, it’s underpaid. Gronk, if he can get healthy, will command that kind of salary too. So will Julio. Same type of production.

  31. Name one team that you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that will give up 2 first round draft picks and 12 mil right now for JG. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

  32. None. Which is why he hasn’t left Nola.

    But that’s not the point either.

    His market value is around 12 million. Throwing in two first round draft picks makes him too expensive.

    But let me ask you this. How many teams would pay JG 12 million if he was a FA?

    I’ll wait.

  33. Drew throws between 35 and 45 scores every year , is accurate , and throws for 5000 yards every year and he’s overpaid ? Joe flacco got 120 mil and won’t ever throw for 5000 yards or 45 scores . Brees deserved his money just like graham deserves his 10 mil a year

  34. Well which is it ? Is he underpaid or too expensive ? You’re forgetting that Gronk can block, where JG can’t and disappears when he is covered like a “top WR” that you think he is. The 3 games he was covered by a CB, his total stats were 4 catches, 50 yards, and 1 TD. Not to mention he is top 15 last year in receiving yards. Eric Decker, who was above him, is only getting a little over 7 million a year with the jets. So I think 9.5 is more than fair.

  35. You aren’t comprehending a simple argument.

    His market value is 12 million. Which he deserves. However, you can’t expect a team to give that kind of money AND two first rounders. That is too much.

    How hard is it to comprehend?

    As far as Gronk. Yes, you can say he is a better TE. Although, in my opinion, talent doesn’t matter if you can’t stay on the field.

    Market value. That is what this is about. Pay the man!

  36. Market value determined by who ? I gave you actual facts. Franchise Tag salary is determined by the average top 5 salaries of the position he was tagged at, ie TE, he has been ruled a TE and the saints are offering him appx 2 million a year over that. Please give me something factual that proves his market value is 12 million.

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