The New Orleans Saints and Jimmy Graham didn’t have to wait until the official deadline to come up with a suitable contract. Early Tuesday morning, Saints’ TE Jimmy Graham announced his new deal via Twitter. Graham stated, “It’s official I’m bleeding black n gold this morning. Thank you WhoDatnation for all the support.”
According to Sportsline.com’s Jason La Canfora, Graham needs to pass a physical before the deal is officially stamped. It’s reportedly worth $10 million per year, and it will make Graham the highest paid tight end in the NFL.
Jimmy Graham’s deal amounts to 4-years $40 million, with a guarantee of $21 million. The guaranteed money ranks second for tight ends, behind San Franciso’s Vernon Davis. Interestingly enough, Davis is leaning towards holding out for a better deal this season. Vernon Davis’ contract has $23 million guaranteed in salary.
According to Sportsline.com, Saints’ QB Drew Brees told Graham to be “patient” and not to get “frustrated” throughout the negotiation process. After all, it was Brees that had to go through his own contract dispute with the Saints a few years back. In the same fashion, both deals got done before the deadline was reached.
Earlier this year, when Drew Brees visited the Dan Patrick Show, Brees jokingly stated that he would give some money back to keep Jimmy Graham happy. Maybe it wasn’t a joke once you understand the value of the Saints TE.
Jimmy Graham is a match up nightmare for most teams in the NFL. The only time he’s been slowed down in a game, you can look back to injury setbacks.
In 2013, Graham caught 86 passes for 1215 yards. He also added 16 touchdowns to help facilitate one of the most impressive offenses in the history of the NFL. At age 27, Graham is entering his fifth season in the NFL. As a former college basketball player at the University of Miami, Graham doesn’t have the natural wear and tear of playing a full college career, so he could just be scratching the surface of his tight end exploits.
In four seasons, he’s amassed 301 receptions and 41 touchdowns. In 2011, Graham recorded 99 receptions, and it will be interesting to see if he breaks the century mark this season. If he’s healthy for all 16 games, opposing defenses better look out.
With the new deal, New Orleans doesn’t have to worry about Jimmy Graham holding out. They also don’t have to worry about other teams swooping in to sign him. However, that would have been a long shot. Any team with the notion of bringing Jimmy Graham in would have given up two first round draft picks.
With training camp rapidly approaching, it’s time for the Saints and Graham to celebrate for a day, then they can get back to work. New Orleans opens the season at Atlanta, and three of their first four games are on the road.
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