“My guess is the Saints franchise Jimmy Graham,” King writes. “I don’t see how they reach a deal if he keeps his demand in the stratosphere, and I’d have serious questions about him as a stratospheric player after the no-show he put on this postseason, even despite the plantar fascia.”
Graham should easily be able to surpass the five-year, $35.11 million contract that included $19 million guaranteed the Rams gave to Jared Cook last year based on his production and the fact that he’s in line to test the free agent market.
Previous reports have indicated that Graham is prepared to challenge the tight end franchise tag if the Saints elect to use the designation on him in the coming weeks. 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.
While King appears to have concerns about Graham’s future production, playing through a plantar fascia injury is to do in the first place, let alone be an all-world tight end in the process. Graham physical gifts and overall ability will continue to create huge mismatches for the Saints offense and the fact that he will still only be 28 next year makes him worth the gamble.
I should mention that the Saints will need to create a lot of space in the next few weeks in order to have room for Graham and other potential free agent targets.
We have Graham listed as the No. 1 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.