The bad news is Graham will have to fight for every penny.
Graham is slated to become a free agent on March 11, but Saints general manager Mickey Loomis previously said his organization would use the franchise tag to retain their tight end. The one-year franchise tag salary for a tight end is expected to be around $6.7 million, according to ESPN.com.
However, Graham believes he is used like a receiver, and prefers to get paid like one. That tag value is $11.5 million.
Graham did not seem worried about his impending contract battle when asked about it on Thursday.
"For me, I'm just standing,” Graham told Nola.com. “I take every day one day at a time. I'm just going to wait and see what happens because that's where it's at.”
Graham was asked if he considered himself a tight end or receiver and gave an elusive answer.
"That's not for me to decide," Graham told Nola.com. “I'm going to do, and I'm going to play, whatever I'm asked to do. It's that simple.”
Simplistically, Graham is poised to become the highest paid tight end in league history.
Graham earned $1.323 million (non-guaranteed base salary) in 2013. It was the final year of a $3.3 million rookie contract that included just $665,140 in guaranteed money. His new contract will likely exceed the six-year, $53 million extension New England’s Rob Gronkowski signed in 2012, which made him the highest paid tight end in league history.
The franchise tag is probably the last thing either side wants. Even is Graham does get tagged, the Saints can continue working on a long-term deal with him throughout the offseason.
Graham is not worried, and it is hard to blame him for being tranquil.
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