New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been the talk of the offseason due to his free agency and the controversy surrounding his franchise tag. I think it’s safe to say that the tight end position is pretty much dominated by number 80. However, it is unfair to give him all of the credit.
In this article I will talk about the level of need for this position, an overview of what occurred this season and what the future looks like for the Saints and the tight ends on their roster.
What does this position NEED? Most importantly, it needs a new contract for Jimmy Graham.
Will “Who Dats” have another reason to celebrate Mardi Gras Day? The Franchise deadline is March 3rd and the Saints have until then to sign Jimmy.
I think if anyone deserves a new contract, it’s Jimmy Graham. His numbers have gotten better each season and he’s the heart and soul of this Saints team. But, his agent brings up a good point.
He claims that Jimmy Graham is worth more money because he is more of a receiver than tight end. The stats have shown that Graham spent more time being played in a wide receiver position than any other.
ESPN Stats & Information shows that Graham’s percentage of lining up as an in-line tight end was less than his percentage lining up in the slot and lastly was his percentage lining up out wide. His numbers were significantly higher for snaps, targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns as a receiver than a tight end.
What does this mean for Graham? In free agency, the franchise tag was previously $6 million for tight ends and $10.5 million for receivers. Jimmy could use these stats to his advantage and claim a higher salary and he could come out on top, but it would hurt the Saints’ budget.
Hopefully, the Saints can use the franchise tag on Graham and have some time to negotiate a deal with him. I have no doubts Graham wants to stay with the Saints.
If everything works out, and Jimmy Graham is back on the roster, he will have an opportunity to utilize the skills of another tight end and create a tag team. Benjamin Watson is the Robin to Graham’s Batman. Just like New England had Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, these two could really make an impact together next season.
The Saints signed Watson after getting rid of David Thomas, who hardly made an impact. Ben Watson’s numbers weren’t spectacular in Cleveland, but in his first season with the Saints he showed potential. With 226 yards, 2 TDs and 19 reception,s he can only improve next season with Jimmy by his side.
He has a unique opportunity being able to work with Graham and learn how this team works. His ability to be a dual threat and a receiver and tight end seldom gets overlooked.
Lastly, there is one more tight end on the Saints roster who some people don’t even know exists. Josh Hill is a rookie and came to the Saints from Idaho State. He played in three games this season and had one touchdown. I think Hill would have an opportunity to start on another team, but with power team Graham and Watson it is hard to make a name for yourself.
All Saints fans are anticipating what the future holds for tight end Jimmy Graham and the Tight End position and hope that it will be nothing but celebrations on March 4th!