Interestingly enough, Werder mentions that the recent grievance ruling in favor of the Saints has made Graham “more attractive to other teams around the league who might consider making an offer.”
According to Werder, the teams that are most likely willing to extend Graham an offer include the Falcons, Patriots and Colts. Werder adds that the Packers are another team to watch, but he admits that pursuing Graham would almost certainly prevent them re-signing either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb in the coming months.
It’s worth mentioning that any team willing to sign Graham to an offer sheet would have to part with two first-round picks in the event that the Saints don’t match the offer sheet.
Recent reports have mentioned that the Saints have not reduced or pulled their previous offer to Graham, which is believed to be close to $9.5 million annually. If he were to play out the 2014 season under the franchise tender, he stands to make $7.035 million.
Joel Corry of CBS Sports points out that many of the team’s drafting towards the end of round one don’t have the cap space to sign Graham to offer sheet.
Here are the latest cap figures the teams suggested by Werder:
- Colts: $13,586,702
- Falcons: $9,263,836
- Packers: $13,515,388
- Patriots: $6,403,532
- Saints: $1,718,621
The Colts have two young tight ends on their roster with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, but Graham would provide a huge upgrade as a pass catching option.
The Patriots have Rob Gronkowski, who is coming off of a knee injury, but adding Graham would give them an extremely impressive tight end duo. It’s hard to imagine opposing defenses being able to match up Gronkowski and Graham on the field at the same time.
Green Bay used a third-round pick on Richard Rodgers and signed former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla as an undrafted free agent, but there are still questions regarding who will be their Week 1 starter. Even so, Werder’s point about possibly losing either Nelson or Cobb makes this idea seem very unlikely.
Graham managed to put together a very good season, despite the fact that he was hampered by a foot injury for a good portion of the year. He totaled 86 receptions for 1,215 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns and was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 1 tight end in the league.
We’ll have more regarding Graham’s situation as the news is available.