The clock is ticking for the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have until 4pm eastern tomorrow to sign their All Pro TE Jimmy Graham to a long term contract.
If a deal is not struck by then, Graham has the option of playing out this season for the 7.053 million that the Franchise tag will pay him, or he can sit out the season.
Independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled earlier this month that Graham was a tight end, not a wide receiver. This caused talks to go back to square one after that announcement.
If Graham had been classified as a wide receiver like he asked to be, his payday would have been much bigger.
How is he not a wide receiver? The 28 year old has caught 301 passes in 62 NFL games spanning four seasons. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season twice, and missed by just 18 yards in 2012. He has caught at least 85 passes in each of the last three years, and scored a whopping 16 touchdowns last year.
Do the Saints have a wide receiver that puts up numbers like that? Nope. Number one WR Marques Colston has trailed Graham in receptions and touchdowns over the last three years, and trailed him in yards twice.
Graham was drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft out of Miami(FL). The Saints realized later that season that they had something special.
Both sides are expected to come to a long term agreement eventually, but Graham will likely have to be paid like a WR even if he is not classified as one.