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Saints Franchising TE Jimmy Graham

Update:

 

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ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the New Orleans Saints will in fact be using their franchise tag on TE Jimmy Graham before Monday’s deadline.

  • Larry Holder mentioned that Graham is likely targeting “at least twice as much” as the five-year, $32 million contract the Ravens signed TE Dennis Pitta to earlier today.

Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports previously reported the Saints and Graham were still “several million dollars” per year apart in recent contract talks.

  • According to Garafolo, the Saints have made it clear they will pay him more than Rob Gronkowski’s $9 million per year, but Graham is apparently looking for a better deal than that.

Graham is expected to challenge the tight end franchise tag in the coming weeks given that the franchise tag for receivers last year was $10.54 million while the figure for tight ends came in at $6.07 million, or a difference of roughly $4.5 million.

  • Brian McIntyre has the projections for the receive franchise tag as $11.118 million and tight end tag at $6.373 million next season.

The Patriots probably got a steal when they signed Gronkowski to an eight-year, $55.23 million contract that included just $13.17 million guaranteed. It’s really not surprising that Graham and his agent would be looking for more than this given production over the years, and the fact that he’s in line to be one of the most sought after players in the free agent market.

The Saints are projected to have around $8 million in cap space as things stand right now.

We have Graham listed as the No. 1 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.

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