It took longer than expected and there were plenty of speed bumps along the way, but the New Orleans Saints have to be thrilled to reach a new contract with tight end Jimmy Graham.
Graham is considered to be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. On top of that, he is still young and he has not reached his prime yet. With Drew Brees under center, the Saints have to continue to give him weapons if they want any shot at reaching the Super Bowl once again. Clearly, agreeing to a long-term deal with Graham is a huge step in the right direction.
New Orleans certainly waited long enough to come to an agreement with Graham on a right price considering this afternoon is the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term contracts. However, fans have to be excited that a deal got done at all, especially since Graham appeared to do everything in his power to create animosity between the two parties.
It was not long ago that the 27-year-old demanded to be paid as a wide receiver opposed to a tight end because of how he is used in the offense. More importantly, franchise-tagged tight ends do not make anywhere near the amount of money a franchise-tagged wide receiver will because it goes off of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position. Since Graham thought of himself as more of a wide receiver who just happens to line up as a tight end, he wanted to be paid like one. Of course, the Saints wanted to use his position to their advantage financially.
The good news is it is all in the past, as Graham will reportedly make $40 million over the next four years with $21 million guaranteed. That is a fair price for someone who hauled in 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and a career-high 16 touchdowns last season.