Saints Jimmy Graham not keen on receiving franchise tag

Cesar Tordesillas – 4E Sports Contributor

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.

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