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Saints optimistic about long-term deal for Jimmy Graham.

  • Jim Racalto
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(Credit: wbrz.com)

It was reported last month that the Saints and general manager Mickey Loomis would seek to lock up star tight end Jimmy Graham to a long-term contract before April 22nd. Why April 22nd? That is the deadline for Graham to file a grievance arguing that he should be franchise-tagged as a receiver rather than a tight end.

There is some confusion in this scenario, however, because July 15th is the actual deadline for the Saints to sign Graham to a new deal before he would be forced to sit out the season or play under the one-year franchise tag. So whether or not Graham files a grievance by April 22nd is irrelevant if the Saints plan on getting his contract done by July 15th.

Still, there is no indication of a timeline on when exactly the Saints plan to try to get a deal done.

Per Pro Football Talk:

“I don’t have an answer for that,” Loomis said, via ESPN.com. “That’s a two-way street. You know, you guys [in the media] have been through this lots of times. I think all of us would rather have things done sooner rather than later, but it doesn’t always happen that way. So we’ll keep going, we’ll keep at it in the process. Obviously we want to have Jimmy Graham on our team when training camp begins, and I am sure he wants to be with us. So we’ll just keep plugging away at the process.

If Graham were to file a grievance, it would throw a complicated wrench into things, as both sides would have to argue their cases in front of an arbitrator. If the Saints plan to sign Graham long-term, it would behoove them to let Graham know that so he doesn’t go forward with the grievance. There’s plenty of time to at least begin negotiations before Graham pulls that card, so it will be interesting to see what transpires between the two sides in the coming weeks.

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