The New Orleans Saints have a big task ahead of them, with star tight end Jimmy Graham sent to be a free agent in March. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has already made it clear that the team will use the franchise tag on Graham if a long-term deal cannot be agreed on, but that doesn’t appear to be a plan that Graham is a fan of.
When speaking about the situation at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, Graham made it very clear that he would prefer to not be slapped with the franchise tag and if he was it would be “unfortunate.”
“If that happens, it doesn’t really matter what I prefer,” he said, via NFL.com.
“I’m not keen on the franchise tag, that would be really unfortunate, but that is really all I have to say about that one.”
In 2013, Graham was able to haul in 86 passes for 1,215 yards. He also led the NFL in touchdown receptions with 16, despite having a nagging foot injury during the final stretch of the season.
There is no doubt that Graham is a key part of the Saints offense and the team needs to get him back under contract, but they risk playing a dangerous game and making one of their biggest offensive playmakers unhappy if they use the tag.
It will be even more interesting to see if the Saints would try to tag Graham as a wide receiver or tight end, because the difference in guaranteed money for the one-year franchise tender could make Graham even more of an unhappy man.