Franchise TE Jimmy Graham is sitting out of Saints OTAs, has grievance hearing on June 17th-18th.
With the July 15th deadline for the Saints and Graham to reach a long-term contract agreement looming, the hearing exactly one month before should hopefully resolve the issue the two sides are having. Graham has been a huge part of the Saints success at moving the ball down the field.
With long-term talks stalled, this was inevitable. The New Orleans Saints have tagged TE Jimmy Graham as a tight end, which would pay him $7.035 million on a one-year deal. The NFLPA is arguing that he should be tagged as a wide receiver, which would net him $12.312 million. Graham’s main argument stems from the fact that he lined up in the slot or split wide on 67 percent of his snaps last season, while the Saints will argue that tight ends routinely line up all over the formation in today’s NFL. The NFL’s Management Council decides what position franchise tags are applied to. They ruled Graham was a tight end despite lining up in the slot or split wide on 67 percent of his snaps. The NFLPA has filed an appeal of that ruling, hoping Graham will be deemed a wide receiver and thus earn more than $5 million extra on his 2014 deal.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees isn’t worried about the issue between the Saints and Graham. He believe they will come to an agreement which will benefit both parties for some time into the future. We sure hope so! Graham has been a huge part of the Saints success moving the ball down the field. Graham has recorded at least 85-plus receptions in each of his last 3 seasons. Due to being such a important target for moving the chains as well inside the redzone, Graham has been able to produce 1,200-plus receiving yards in 2 of the past 3 seasons as well as recording at least 9 or more touchdowns in each of his last 3 years, including a league leading 16 total touchdowns in 2013.
With the Saints shipping out wide receiver Lance Moore to Pittsburgh and running back Darren Sproles out to Philadelphia, it should increase the targets that Graham see’s weekly. We can expect Graham to jump off the draft board in Rounds 2-to-3 with some team owners in deeper leagues grabbing him with a late-first round pick.