Earlier this off season, the Saints released Jabari Greer, Roman Harper, Will Smith and Johnathan Vilma. It is also rumored than Darren Sproles will be gone too. Eventhough these moves seem surprising, they were also necessary for the Saints to be able to get under the salary cap of $133 million. Recently the Saints have place an non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham.The price tag for tight ends is about $7 million. If he files grievance to be tagged as a wide receiver that amount will jump to around $12 million. The Saints are trying to work on a long-term deal with Jimmy Graham which will probably make him the highest paid tight end in the history of the NFL.
The Saints have also placed a $1.4 million restricted free agent tendor on safety Rafael Bush. The Saints will need to clear more cap room if they want to resign free agents Zach Strief, Malcolm Jenkins, and Brian De la Puente. So with the Saints having so little cap room they had no choice, but to release veterans to clear more space.
The only Saints that remain under contract from the 2009 super bowl season are Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Thomas Moorestead, Jahari Evans, and Robert Meachem. Zach Strief and Malcolm Jenkins are set to become free agents on March 11.
The unofficial start of free agency is tomorrow, where teams can negotiate contracts with their soon to be free agents. This period lasts three days. Free agency will officialy start March 11 at 4:00 pm eastern time.
Will the saints cut anyone else, will they attempt to negotiate contracts with potential free agents? Stay tuned who dat nation, it will be an interesting next few days,
The NFL will reportedly raise the salary cap to about $130 million in 2014. This is very big news for the Saints since their salary cap total is sky high. With this raise in salary cap the Saints will be about $4.6 million under the cap. So like i said this news is amazing.
To be able to afford Jimmy Grahams franchise tag price the Saints will need to trim the salary cap at least another $10 million. It is still possible the Saints could release current veterans like defensive tackle Brodrick Brunkley, cornerback Patrick Robinson, receiver Lance Moore and running back Pierre Thomas. Those four players combined could free up about $12.6 million in cap space.
The Saints made their biggest cuts last week in Roman Harper, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer. Those three combined will account for $8.7 million in “dead money” against this years salary cap due to their signing bonuses which hasn’t been charged yet.
The salary cap is expected to rise even more in 2015 and with those three off the books the Saints may be able to stay somewhat active in free agency this year.
The Saints front office has been working hard this off season with all the decisions they have been making, but these difficult decisions are not over yet. Saints fans just have to hope that all these decisions pay off in the long run. All and all he did take a risk on Drew Brees back in 06 and draft Jimmy Graham in the 3rd round in 2010. As Saints fans would say “In Loomis We Trust.”
The New Orleans Saints have many decisions to make during this off-season. One of those decisions is whether to franchise tag All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham or not. Franchise tagging is basically a one year deal that binds the player to their current team payout is based on position. Graham is listed as a tight end, but most of the time he lines up as a slot wide receiver. So the question is will he be considered a tight end or a wide receiver for franchise tagging purposes? The tight end amount is 6.8 million while the wide receiver amount is 11.6 million. So, obviously the Saints will want to sign him for the tight end amount and Jimmy Graham would want the wide receiver amount. The New Orleans Saints have from February 17th till March 3rd to franchise tag Jimmy Graham. If a long term deal isn’t done by then, there is no doubt in my mind that the Saints will franchise tag Jimmy Graham.
The problem is even if the Saints are able to sign Graham to the tight end amount the Saints don’t have that type of money. The Saints are way above the cap limit for the 2014-2015 season and it’s possible that there isn’t enough room for other soon to be free agents which include: Malcolm Jenkins, Zach Strief, and Brian De la Puente. To get under the cap some players may need to be cut, some of those players include: Will Smith, Pierre Thomas, Roman Harper, and Lance Moore.
These decisions are tough meanwhile keeping Jimmy Graham is an easy call, just a very costly one.
In my opinion, resigning or franchise tagging Jimmy Graham needs to be number one priority. No matter what it takes the Saints need to make this happen. Graham has said he doesn’t want to play for any other quarterback than Drew Brees. Who could blame him, they bring out the best in each other. Not only is Jimmy Graham important to the Saints on the field, he is just as important off the field. The Saints fans including myself adore Jimmy Graham. He is as great off the field as he is on. He is always willing to sign autographs and take pictures with fans after the game. That’s a show of true character. Jimmy Graham is one of a kind.
Jimmy Graham 2013 season stats
86 catches, 1,215 yards, 16 touchdowns