Jimmy Graham TE NO 8 Days6 Comments

Jimmy Graham's $8 million 2015 salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2015 waiver period.

Graham's new four-year, $40 million contract included $21 million in guarantees. That comes in the form of a $12 million signing bonus, $1 million 2014 base salary and $8 million 2015 base. So he's a lock to get all that money, and is an excellent bet to get all $40 million as long as he sustains health. If Graham does play out the full four years at his current dominant level, he'll break the bank when he hits the open market at age-31. His camp had no leverage in this deal because they were handcuffed by the franchise tag.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 9 Days

Saints signed Jimmy Graham to a multi-year contract.

Graham broke the news on his Twitter account: "It's official. I'm bleeding black and gold this morning! Thank you WhoDatNation for all the support." All major news outlets and Graham's agent, Jimmy Sexton, have confirmed a long-term deal has been reached ahead of Tuesday afternoon's 4 PM ET deadline. Once the numbers are in, Graham will be the league's highest-paid tight end. We can all breathe; Graham will be listed as a tight end in fantasy.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 9 Days

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Saints and franchise player Jimmy Graham are "closing in" on a deal that would make Graham the highest-paid tight end in league history.

Reports of a long-term deal have been seconded by FOX Sports and Profootballtalk. The sides have until Tuesday to finalize a long-term agreement. If talks fall apart, Graham would be forced to play out 2014 under the tight-end franchise tag (though he's appealed his tag as a tight end). Graham will blow by the $16 million guaranteed - the most for any current tight end - Dennis Pitta and Jared Cook received in their recent deals.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 9 Days3 Comments

Jimmy Graham has appealed independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank's decision that he should be franchise tagged as a tight end.

There had been speculation that Graham wouldn't appeal. The lack of an appeal would have been an indication that the sides were ready to strike an agreement before Tuesday's deadline to sign franchise players to long-term contracts. Now, it's uncertain if the sides will come to an accord.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 12 Days

The deadline for Jimmy Graham to appeal independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank's franchise tag decision is believed to be Monday, July 14.

It's surprising the NFLPA has taken this long to formally file the appeal. Meanwhile, the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term extensions is Tuesday, July 15. PFT's Mike Florio, an attorney, expects either a long-term deal between the Saints and Graham before July 14 at 4PM, or the appeal to be filed by the NFLPA. Both sides would likely prefer a long-term pact.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 17 Days21 Comments

A source with knowledge of the situation tells Profootballtalk.com the Saints were not thrilled with the way arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in their favor during the Jimmy Graham franchise tag case.

The Saints "disagree" a tight end's position is determined by whether he lines up within four yards of an offensive tackle. They believe three factors distinguish tight ends: 1) Their size 2) The position group with which they meet 3) How they are defended. PFT's Mike Florio, who is an attorney, suggests the Graham case could be "a little more vulnerable to reversal" on appeal. We're still not worried about Graham losing tight end eligibility in fantasy football leagues.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 20 Days2 Comments

Profootballtalk reports the Saints have offered franchise player Jimmy Graham a multi-year contract worth $9.5 million annually.

PFT's Mike Florio hints the offer has been on the table for some time now, and the Saints have no plans to withdraw it, even after winning the arbitration case against Graham on Wednesday. At $9.5 million per year, Graham would be the league's highest-paid tight end. The offer also reportedly contains a "considerable chunk of fully guaranteed money up front." Florio expects the two sides to hammer out a deal at some point before the July 15 deadline.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 21 Days6 Comments

According to agent Jimmy Sexton, contract negotiations between Jimmy Graham and the Saints will start at "ground zero."

The two sides will have a lot of ground to cover before the July 15 deadline to complete a long-term deal, especially if Graham appeals Wednesday's ruling that deemed him a tight end for franchise tag purposes. Still, it's extremely difficult to see Graham playing on a one-year tender for a meager $7.035 million and it's even more difficult to see the Saints risking a holdout. Expect a deal that pays Graham as an elite receiver to get done just before the clock strikes zero.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 22 Days2 Comments

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled that Jimmy Graham is a tight end for franchise designation purposes.

The Saints have won the case, meaning they're scheduled to pay Graham $7.035 million on his one-year tender instead of the $12.312 million he would have gotten as a wide receiver. The two sides will continue to work on a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, and now the Saints have a little extra leverage in negotiations. For fantasy purposes, Graham will retain his tight end eligibility and will not be adding wide receiver status. He's the biggest difference-maker at the game's thinnest position.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 23 Days

Abitrator Stephen Burbank plans to inform the Saints and NFL of Jimmy Graham's franchise tag designation on Thursday, July 3.

Burbank will decide whether the Saints' tight end tag should stick, or whether Graham should be honored as a wide receiver. The "losing" side is expected to then appeal Burbank's ruling. Our ultimate expectation is a compromise in the middle, with Graham maintaining tight end eligibility in all fantasy leagues.