Jimmy Graham is recognized as an elite tight end, but some
of his weaknesses may impede his ability to get the contract he pursues.
Graham is entering the 2014 off-season as a free agent and is expected to receive a favorable contract to stay with the Saints. In 2013, he led all tight ends in receptions, 86, yards, 1215, and touchdowns, 16, and earned his second trip to Hawaii.
No one can dispute the numbers that Graham has put up, but his play seems to diminish when teams play physical against him.
According to Mike Freeman, Michal Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks attacked Graham by calling him soft and the most overrated player in the league. It really resonates when a player on the best defense in the league accuses another player of being soft.
In the two games that Graham faced Seattle, he accumulated a total of four receptions for 50 yards and a meaningless touchdown.
The Philadelphia Eagles also shut down Jimmy Graham in a playoff game. Philly held Graham to three receptions for 44 yards and he was relatively irrelevant throughout the game. Philly would get hands on Graham every time he got off the line of scrimmage and their plan worked. Once again, the physical play has subdued his ability to have an impact
Overall, it is very hard to argue Graham doesn’t deserve the big money he wants, but there is now a game plan for teams to handle him.
The Saints have already cut veteran players such as Will Smith, Jabari Greer, Roman Harper, and Jonathan Vilma, in an attempt to clear up more cap space, possibly for Graham.
For an organization to cut players that contributed to a Super Bowl speaks volumes.
Before the Saints give out all of their money to one player, they better make it an emphasis for Graham to play more consistent against physical defenses, or they could end up being the architects of their own downfall.
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