Kristian: Graham needs to go back to negotiating table
by Kristian Garic,posted Jul 2 2014 1:10PM
Arbritrator Steven Burbank ruled against Saints tight end Jimmy Graham in his grievance against the Saints and the NFL. Burbank ruled Graham is a tight end instead of a wide receiver. Graham was franchised tagged as a tight end this past March, and he and his agent contended the Saints used him more as a wide receiver.
If Graham and the Saints do not work out a long term contract before July 15th, he will be forced to play under the 1-year designation, earning just over $7 million dollars this season. The franchise designation for a wide receiver would have come in just over $12 million dollars this season.
Graham and his agent Jimmy Sexton will likely file an appeal to a three person panel, but that appeal could linger past the July 15th deadline for a long term deal. The most logical option for Graham would be to go back to the negotiating table with the Saints and hammer out a long term contract if he receives a fair offer. I fully expect that to happen. I think you can look for a deal in the neighborhood of $60 million dollars with a $10 million per season average, on or shortly before the July 15th deadline.
Steven Burbank’s ruling ultimately gives both Graham’s camp and the Saints a real working barometer to iron out a contract. At the end of the day I’m extremely optimistic Graham will be with the Saints in 2014 and beyond. Once again, the Saints roll the dice a bit, and come out smelling like a rose. It’s been their hallmark, their penchant over the last 8 years or so.
Give General Manager Mickey Loomis credit, he’s one tough negotiator and plays hard ball with the best of them!