For Saints fans, today is a good day, indeed
If you are a New Orleans Saints fan, today is a good day.
If you are Jimmy Graham, it ain’t a bad day either.
Graham announced this morning that he had agreed to terms on a four-year, $40 million contract that sets him up for life and sets the Saints up to make another Super Bowl run or three.
The most important numbers — as with any NFL contract — are these: $21,000,000. That’s the amount of money that is guaranteed Graham, no matter what. He could suffer a career-ending injury the first day of training camp and he still gets 21 million bucks. That will more than make up for the fact that the Saints have paid Graham what amounts to an NFL pittance over the past three seasons when he has caught more passes (270) for more yards (3,507) and more touchdowns (36) than any other tight end in the sport.
Indeed, you could argue — and I would — that at about $2 million over the past three seasons combined, Graham was the most underpaid player in the sport.
Graham now becomes the highest paid tight end in the history of football. Before his career is over, he may stamp himself as the best tight end in the sport’s history. We shall see.
My opinion: No tight end has ever possessed the combination of height, speed, jumping ability and the ability to catch the football in a crowd Graham possesses. He has produced star wide receiver numbers as a tight end and now he will be paid accordingly.
There will be those of the black and gold persuasion who worry that the combined salaries of Drew Brees and Graham will make it difficult for the Saints to pay enough to keep (and obtain) quality players to surround them.
And that’s true to a degree, but that’s the problem every NFL team faces when it has elite players, difference makers and touchdown makers.
Brees and Graham are two of those special kinds of players. They make the Saints a strong Super Bowl threat.
Let’s put it this way: Would you rather have the superstars or would you rather have the supporting cast with no superstars to support?
That’s an easy choice. Today is a good day for Saints fans and a deservedly good day for Jimmy Graham.