NFL

Sean Payton says Graham deal will happen soon

Graham faces an uncertain future
Graham faces an uncertain future.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton says he is optimistic over Jimmy Graham putting pen to paper on a new contract.

As it stands Graham will stay with the Saints for the 2014 season after he was franchised as a tight end, but would be free to walk away for nothing next year.

However talks over a new long-term deal that would keep him in New Orleans for the foreseeable future have been on-going, with reports suggesting yesterday that an agreement could be reached by mid-April.

The Saints have experience in dealing with negotiating new contracts for star players having eventually reached a deal with quarterback Drew Brees two years ago after he was tagged.

Payton says that like Brees, he is confident that Graham will be tied down to a new contract soon.

"His situation is similar to Drew, a lot of us feel it's not a matter of if but when," he said when speaking at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando.

If that does prove to be the case then it would save a lot of hassle for both parties. If Graham doesn't sign a new deal he is likely to contest the Saints decision to tag him as a tight-end, when he lined up for the majority of his snaps away from his regular position.

The average salary of the top three tight-ends is roughly $5 million less than the money he would get if he as considered a wide receiver.

In order to avoid him taking his case to the league, the Saints are reportedly willing to make him the best-paid tight end in NFL history by offering him a contract in excess of the $9 million earned by current record holder Rob Gronkowski.

Topics:
New Orleans Saints
NFL

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