After Further Review: Don't blame Jimmy Graham - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

After Further Review: Don't blame Jimmy Graham

(AP Photo) Graham should not be blamed for asking for a fair market contract (AP Photo) Graham should not be blamed for asking for a fair market contract

Don't blame Jimmy Graham for the Saints' current predicament.

Blame success.

Success creates marketable players. Marketable players create interest. Interest creates money. And the Saints paid as many as they could, as well as they could, for as long as they could.

That's why the offseason bloodbath continued Friday. Darren Sproles and Lance Moore were just next on the list of the all-too-important debate of production vs. price tag. As harsh as it sounds, the Saints didn't think their play matched what they cost.

It had absolutely nothing to do with a 28-year-old tight end asking for contract he has rightfully earned. The only difference is Graham, like Drew Brees, is at the top of the scale for his skill set. Thus his asking price is a little higher.

Graham is very down-to-earth guy, so it likely makes him feel bad that on the surface it looks like his contract is forcing the Saints to make all these moves. Thus, he sent out that frustrating tweet.

A lot of fans I've talked to feel the same way.

It's the wrong way to think.  

This offseason is not Graham's fault. Not by a long shot. Let's remember Graham was the one of the best bargains in the NFL for the last four years.  

This "problem," if you want to even call it that, has come along with all the wins. The more you win, the more players want to get paid. And teams like the Saints can't afford to keep them all.

It's the cycle of life in the NFL. The good teams are the ones that know when the right time to cut ties is. This is just the first time so many household names had to go at one time.

It hurts, it stings and it worries the fan base. But they were all necessary.

Graham is just the next big-time player up for a contract in the prime of his career. He's earned it. And the Saints will take care of him, just like they did every single one of the players they decided to part ways with. That's how it works in the salary cap era of the NFL.

Don't be mistaken, none of these moves comes without risks. They could always backfire. Losing all that production and experience at one time could certainly be a detriment. Sproles and Moore in particular will likely be on some NFL roster in 2014. In fact, I can easily make a case for both players to stay and look elsewhere. Plus, there is no guarantee that going younger and cheaper is going to equal the same amount of wins.

But the Saints feel like it's worth the risk. And clearly feel like Graham is worth what he is asking for.  We'll know in the fall just how right they were.

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