Confirming it’s officially Franchisefriday… TAG … I guess I’m it…
Oh, not Sproles and Moore, too Pass that bottle :(
How much is New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham worth?
SAINTS SWAP JIMMY GRAHAM’S FRANCHISE TAG FOR A NON-EXCLUSIVE TAG INSTEAD.
By KaSandra Hunt
FFR Radio & Media Co.
March 1, 2014 12:05 PM CST
Just as many believed, The New Orleans Saints placed the Franchse Tag on TE Jimmy Graham Friday February 28, 2014. Less than 24 hours later the Saints front office staff switched to a Non-Exclusive Tag for Graham instead.
For those not familiar with a Non-Exclusive Tag, this now means any team can sign Graham for two 1st draft picks or Saints can match with a better offer.
Now while Graham proved to be very effective at the TE position for the Saints, many are wondering if there is a team out there willing to take a gamble on Graham by giving up two first-round draft picks.
Graham is asking for at least $12 million and doesn’t see why he shouldn’t be paid as a Wide Out. Well here is why he feels this way. In the 2013 NFL season, Graham scored 16 Touchdowns, caught 86 receptions, racked up 1,215 receptions, played in all 16 games with no fumbles. Must say that is pretty impressive for a TE in his fourth year, but is it worth $12 million? Well let’s see.
Recently, we have seem the Tight End position florish. Offensive coordinators have taken notice to the evolution of this position and have began spreading the wealth to many talented tight ends by using them more as slot receivers. According to an article posted by ESPN Columnist John Clayton, teams have found true value and success in using two tight ends, and in some cases incorporate a three-tight end package. Some tight ends are becoming so good they can pass off as wide receivers and recently the proof has been in the financial pudding.
The Packers TE Jermichael Finley and former Tennessee Titans TE (now with the St. Louis Rams) Jared Cook both put up the same argument as Graham. They stated because of the number of times they lined up in the slot or were flexed out at wide receiver, that they deserve to be paid as one. We have all heard the phrase “Pick Your Battles Wisely” and apparently Jared Cook won this battle and the war with a 5 year $35.1 million contract with the St. Louis Rams and avoided the Franchise Tag. So with Jimmy Graham’s recent success, we had to see this coming.
Unless a team is in desparate need of a talented/versitile tight end, team may wait to see if Graham gets any immediate offers and if the Saints will match them. This can be a long drawn out drama filled process because teams also have the option of waiting until after the 2014 NFL Draft to snag Graham. In this case they would be putting their first round picks for the 2015 and 2016 drafts up for collateral . Yeap, this is just loads of fun as Graham and the Saints organization as everyone hurries up and waits.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk posted that the Saints presumably don’t believe that another team would pay Graham what he wants and give up two first-round picks; otherwise, the Saints would have used the exclusive version of the tag. Doing so, however, would have raised the stakes on the question of whether he’s a receiver or a tight end, pushing Graham’s maximum tender to the average of the five highest cap numbers in 2014 for receivers, as determined in April.
So we will have to sit back and see what offers are put on the table and if the Saints are willing to match them to retain such a viable part of their offense. Something tells me that with the talent and skill Jimmy brings to the table, either way, he really isn’t worried.
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