New Orleans, LA, United States (4E Sports) – Jimmy Graham expressed his dissatisfaction on receiving the New Orleans Saints’ franchise tag and said he would prefer not playing 2014 on the one-year franchise deal.
“That would be really unfortunate, but that is really all I have to say about that one,” said Graham.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said he would prefer to reach a long-term deal with Graham but would use its franchise tag on the star tight end if necessary.
Using the franchise tag on Graham would trigger a determination over whether the pending free agent should be officially considered a tight end or a wide receiver.
Last year’s difference between the franchise-tag salary for a receiver and a tight end was $10.5 million versus $6 million.
Loomis made it clear that the Saints consider Graham a tight end.
“Isn’t that what we drafted him as? Isn’t that what he made the Pro Bowl as?” Loomis said Tuesday. “That’s what we see him as, a tight end. … That’s what makes him valuable.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Graham lined up as a receiver on 67 percent of his snaps in 2013 (45 percent in the slot, 22 percent out wide, 33 percent as an in-line tight end).
During his four-year career with the Saints, Graham has 301 receptions for 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns.
He led the NFL with 16 touchdown catches this past season.
The franchise-tag has a March 3 deadline.