After Further Review: Tackling Graham's position debate - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

After Further Review: Tackling Graham's position debate

The debate is out there. Is Jimmy Graham a tight end or a wide receiver?

I understand why it exists, but it really shouldn't matter.

Mickey Loomis is right, Graham is a tight end. He's a new age tight end that catches a lot of passes and doesn't line up as a traditional tight end much, but he's still a tight end. Graham's camp is right to expect that Graham should be paid like the Saints number one receiving threat because, well, that's what he is.

The only time this distinction would really come into play is if they had to place the franchise tag, which is a move that should only be used to buy some time, not as a true contract. The Saints did this with Drew Brees to protect them from other clubs until they eventually reached a long-term deal. But having Graham play under the tag regardless if it's at tight end or wide receiver is not good business for anyone.

A long-term deal should be the ultimate goal. It's the best thing for all sides. And it should be one that makes Graham the highest paid tight end in the NFL AND in the top ten in all pass catchers, regardless of position.

The game's highest-paid tight end is New England's  Rob Gronkowski who signed an  eight year, $55 million contract, with $17 million guaranteed. The top-earning wide receiver is Calvin Johnson who signed a seven-year $113 million deal with $48 million guaranteed.

The real debate should be how much between these two contracts should the Saints pay their top receiving threat.

While Gronkowski is the more complete tight end, Graham is the more explosive and, more importantly, the more available player.

 Johnson is the best receiver in the game, period. Graham is not at that level. That's not a knock on Graham, that's just how good Johnson is.

If the Saints want to give Graham a contract closer to Gronk's, then they're wrong. If Graham's agent wants a contract similar to Johnson's or even Larry Fitzgerald's, who averages $16 million a year, then they are wrong.

The fairest thing that could work for all sides, in my opinion, would be to put Graham in the $10 million club in average salary and in the neighborhood of $20 million in guaranteed money. That average and guaranteed dollars would put Graham well in the top ten with players like DeSean Jackson, Andre Johnson, Percy Harvin, Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe and Mike Wallace. Graham is at the very least as valuable to the Saints as those players are to their respective teams, in some cases even more.  

As for their salary cap constraints, the Saints can structure the first or first two years of the deal to be very cap friendly. For instance that Gronkowski deal above only carried a cap hit of $2.6 million in year one and $2.7 million in year two.  The Saints will undoubtedly do this to help make all the numbers work at other positions.

 That's what Loomis does better than anyone.  I'll be curious to see how he does it again with Graham.

  • SportsMore>>

  • Saints survive sloppy performance, beat Jets 31-19

    Saints survive sloppy performance, beat Jets 31-19

    Mark Ingram scored on a 1-yard touchdown. Source: Mark LaGrangeMark Ingram scored on a 1-yard touchdown. Source: Mark LaGrange

    Brandon Coleman lost two fumbles inside the Jets 30-yard line. Drew Brees threw an interception inside the Saints own 20. The Black and Gold lost offensive guard Larry Warford with a concussion right before half. All off these negatives, and the Saints still beat the Jets, 24-19. The Jets came into the contest with a 5-8 record, and played without their starting quarterback. A weakened New York squad no doubt helped out with the final outcome.  Brees went 25-of-35 passing for 2...

    more>>

    Brandon Coleman lost two fumbles inside the Jets 30-yard line. Drew Brees threw an interception inside the Saints own 20. The Black and Gold lost offensive guard Larry Warford with a concussion right before half. All off these negatives, and the Saints still beat the Jets, 24-19. The Jets came into the contest with a 5-8 record, and played without their starting quarterback. A weakened New York squad no doubt helped out with the final outcome.  Brees went 25-of-35 passing for 2...

    more>>
  • Saints hold touchdown advantage over the Jets at half

    Saints hold touchdown advantage over the Jets at half

    Mark Ingram jumped into the stands after his 1-yard TD run. Source: Mark LaGrangeMark Ingram jumped into the stands after his 1-yard TD run. Source: Mark LaGrange
    Sean Payton's squad appears to be getting over their loss to the Falcons quickly, no hangover on this day. The Saints lead the Jets at half, 17-10. The Saints hit the end zone first in the contest with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. His stroll to paydirt gave the Black and Gold a 10-0 advantage. Not to be outdone by his running mate, Alvin Kamara scored on a 10-yard touchdown reception, extending the Saints lead to 17-7. The Jets only touchdown of the first half came on a B...more>>
    Sean Payton's squad appears to be getting over their loss to the Falcons quickly, no hangover on this day. The Saints lead the Jets at half, 17-10. The Saints hit the end zone first in the contest with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram. His stroll to paydirt gave the Black and Gold a 10-0 advantage. Not to be outdone by his running mate, Alvin Kamara scored on a 10-yard touchdown reception, extending the Saints lead to 17-7. The Jets only touchdown of the first half came on a B...more>>
  • WR Ted Ginn among inactives for Saints-Jets

    WR Ted Ginn among inactives for Saints-Jets

    Ted Ginn is out with a rib injury. (Source: Garland Gillen, FOX 8).Ted Ginn is out with a rib injury. (Source: Garland Gillen, FOX 8).
    Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. (rib) is among the inactives for the Saints-Jets matchup today in the Dome. Offensive lineman Andrus peat is active for the contest today. Other inactives for the Black and Gold: Jonathan Williams, A.J. Klein, Cameron Tom, Austin Carr, Trey Hendrickson, Jonathan Freeny. The Saints are 16-point favorites over the Jets. Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.more>>
    Saints wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. (rib) is among the inactives for the Saints-Jets matchup today in the Dome. Offensive lineman Andrus peat is active for the contest today. Other inactives for the Black and Gold: Jonathan Williams, A.J. Klein, Cameron Tom, Austin Carr, Trey Hendrickson, Jonathan Freeny. The Saints are 16-point favorites over the Jets. Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.more>>
Powered by Frankly