Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Saints morning report: Graham in spotlight
By Mike Triplett
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been receiving plenty of attention this year for what he’s doing on the field – and for what’s not being done off the field.
According to a Monday report by Pro Football Talk, there has been little progress toward a new contract for the star tight end, who is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. The report cited multiple sources as saying the Saints have made an offer to Graham (not specifying when), but Graham’s camp has not yet responded.
That’s not surprising, considering there were no signs of serious talks taking place this past offseason, before Graham entered the final year of his four-year rookie contract. Unfortunately, it also wouldn’t be surprising to see these talks linger into next offseason, since the negotiations will be so high stakes and high profile.
Graham will certainly becoming the highest-paid tight end in NFL history, with a deal possibly exceeding $10 million per year. And there might also be a battle over whether he should be labeled as a tight end or wide receiver for franchise-tag purposes, based on the way Graham is used in the Saints’ passing offense.
As I wrote last week, it’s a shame that the Saints and Graham’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, haven’t worked together more urgently to get a deal done already. But it’s also not unusual in this business.
Meanwhile, Graham just keeps producing on the field. Over the past two weeks, he has caught 19 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns. According to the Elias Sports Bureau’s weekly roundup for ESPN.com, that’s the highest yardage total by a tight end over two games since Shannon Sharpe gained 314 yards over back-to-back games in 1996.
POWERING UP? ESPN.com’s Week 4 power rankings will be released today, and there’s a strong chance the Saints (3-0) will vault from No. 8 to No. 4 after four teams lost in front of them (the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons). … Stay tuned.
1,000-DAY STREAK: WWLTV.com’s Bradley Handwerger did the math on a remarkable statistic Monday, pointing out that Saints coach Sean Payton hasn’t lost a home game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 995 days. The streak will climb past 1,000 by the time the Saints host the Miami Dolphins next week on "Monday Night Football."
Payton, of course, missed the entire 2012 season while serving a suspension. And in 2011, the Saints were a perfect 9-0 at home, including the playoffs. Payton’s last home loss was on Jan. 2, 2011, to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Handwerger also broke down the breakdowns on the Saints' offensive line in a Monday film review.
OUCH: In case you missed this revelation Monday morning, Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson lost part of his finger inside his glove during Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Saints.
ADJUST YOUR SCHEDULE: Since this is a Monday-night week, the Saints will push everything back a day from their normal schedule. Their first practice (and injury report) of the week will be Thursday.