Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New Orleans Saints Need to Franchise Tag Jimmy Graham Now So They Can Trade Him Later

Jimmy Graham is a talent; an offensive weapon that any quarterback would love to have on his team. He's the kind of player that coordinators salivate over because of his versatility. New Orleans has been glad to have him for the last few years, but probably not for much longer.

In light of Wednesday's ruling by the arbitrator that he is indeed a tight end they need to go ahead and trade him.


Graham and the Saints have been at odds over whether he should he considered a tight end or a wide receiver for franchise tag purposes. To the casual observer this would mean nothing. Just line up and play ball, right?

To Graham and the Saints it meant $5.3 million; the difference between the franchise tag for a tight end versus that of a wide receiver. Nothing to shake a stick at.

Why does this mean they need to trade him?

Talks have not been the best between the team and Graham. The fact that what his position is had to go to an arbitrator shows that there is little the two agree on and even less that they are willing to compromise on.

With the way the arbitrator decided--using Graham calling himself a tight end on social media--as part of the logic behind his ruling is not going to make Graham too eager to compromise now either. Unless the Saints make an about face and decided to pay him something close to what he thinks he's worth he's gone.

Because someone will.

Now to be fair, other teams will have trouble justifying paying Graham what he wants as well.  Of his four seasons in the NFL he has ranked in the top 15 in receiving yards twice (among all pass catching players) with season in between that is more typical of a tight end.

Many will not see that as reason enough to pay him what he wants. That is, unless he is willing to do a Colin Kaepernick-style contract....

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