New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was upset that an arbitrator recently ruled him a tight end and not a wide receiver for franchise designation purposes. While that was a serious blow, it looks like Graham will wind up being pretty happy in the end, as he and the Saints are close to completing a record contract.
Adam Schefter is reporting that the 27-year-old and New Orleans are closing in on a long-term contract that would make him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. The two sides have until Tuesday to complete the deal or he would be paid under the franchise tag designation for the 2014 season.
During his four-year NFL career, Graham has hauled in 301 receptions for 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns. The former third-round pick has also had three unbelievable seasons in a row. In 2011 he caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2012 he had 85 receptions for 982 yards and nine scores. And last season he grabbed 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Graham has been remarkably durable as well, in his four seasons he has played in 62 of a possible 64 regular season games.
The Saints had to get a deal done with their prized pass catcher and right now it’s clear that no other NFL tight end deserves anywhere close to as much money as Graham. There are no details on what kind of terms we’re talking about here, but it will certainly blow past the $16 million guaranteed that Dennis Pitta and Jared Cook received recently.
If Schefter says this deal is going to get done, it’s a safe bet that he’s right.