New Orleans Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham is entering the last year of his rookie contract and as a result of his great play, he is extremely underpaid at $1.3 million. The Saints obviously want to keep their young star and when it comes time to give him a new contract, and Graham could be looking for a contract that would make him the highest paid tight end in the NFL.
As of right now, the highest paid tight end in the NFL is Dallas Cowboys’ tight end Jason Witten, with a salary worth about $7.4 million a year. If the Saints were to franchise tag Graham, he could make about $6 million with the tag, but it is rumored that Graham has his eyes set a little higher than that.
Specifically, Graham could be looking for a new deal that would pay him around $10-$12 million a year. With a deal like that, he would certainly be the highest paid tight end in the NFL, but the question would remain, is he worth it?
Graham is absolutely worth the money because he is one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Furthermore, Graham plays more of a wide receiver role with the Saints as he often lines up in the slot. The franchise number for a wide receiver is about $10 million, so it would make sense for Graham to be seeking that amount of money give his role in the Saints’ offense.
However, there is no time frame for Graham’s deal to get done and if the Saints want to keep him, they will have to do it before the next off-season, when Graham becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Saints will likely have to work something out during the 2013 season for Graham’s new contract. With the Saints current salary cap situation, his deal will have to wait, but when it is all said and done, Graham could very well be the highest paid tight end.