Tight end or wide receiver?
That’s the $5 million question this offseason as Jimmy Graham looks to get paid.
Last week, the New Orleans Saints designated tight end Jimmy Graham as the team’s franchise player. As a franchise player and a tight end, Graham would make $7.035 million in 2014.
Graham’s camp is expected to file a grievance, though, arguing that the Saints should have designated wide receiver Jimmy Graham as the team’s franchise player. Why? Wide receiver Jimmy Graham would make $5 million more in 2014 – $12.132 million total.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? Should Graham, arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the league, get paid as a wide receiver because of his big numbers? Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe weighed in on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“Do I think [Graham] should be the first $10 million-per-year tight end? Yes I do, absolutely,” Sharpe said. “I’m all for the guys making as much money as they possibly can. But let’s not get into semantics. You’re a tight end. They use you in the best situations for their offense, where they can find favorable match-ups. [...] You wanna make more money. I get it. But you’re not a wide receiver.”
Sharpe added that even when Graham lines up in the slot, because of the evolution of the position, he is still a tight end.
Just because the Saints tagged Graham as their franchise player, though, doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play in New Orleans next season. Other teams can still sign Graham – they’d just need to send New Orleans a pair of first-round draft picks. Is Graham worth the price?
“I’d give up two No. 1’s for Andrew Luck, because he’s going into his third year. That’s it,” Sharpe said. “No other quarterback, I’m not doing it. They’re too valuable, those picks.”
Would you sign off on your favorite NFL team giving up two first-rounders for Graham? Tweet your thoughts to @SiriusXMNFL.