Jimmy Graham could be the answer for a few NFL teams

3/19/14 in NFL   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) reacts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsThe Saints slapped the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham, so there's a great chance that they'll end up retaining their all-word tight end. The first issue is figuring out exactly what position he'll be franchised at.

The Saints obviously want him to be listed as a tight end, but Graham would like to receive wide receiver money.

There's a $5.3 million difference between the tag for those two positions, so Graham's destination could largely depend on that number.

Another factor is that another team could swoop in and offer Graham a better offer. They'd have to give up two first round picks to the Saints if they take Graham, and that could deter a lot of teams, considering the value of first round picks.

Chase Stuart of Football Perspective listed a few teams who could consider signing Graham. These teams all have plenty of cap space, desperately need a stud tight end, have a short win-now window, and would likely have a good record in the next two seasons, so the 1st round pick they give up would be a late first rounder, rather than an early one. Some of them would also specifically benefit from the Saints losing Graham.

January 24, 2014; Ko'Olina, HI, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) during the 2014 Pro Bowl media day at J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsThe teams in question:
Falcons
Panthers
Jets
Patriots
Bengals
Packers
Vikings

Each of those teams has some cap room. The Jets might not have the best prospects for the next few years, but an offense that features Graham and a few solid free agents around Geno Smith could be pretty solid. The rest of the team could make a huge splash if they were to sign Graham. The Falcons and Panthers in particular would love to see the Saints lose their stud tight end.

If Graham is tagged as a wide receiver, it would be a lot harder for any of these teams to sign him. The money plus the picks might be a little too much for teams to stomach.

But if a team manages to pry him away from the Saints, things could get very interesting.
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