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Jimmy Graham isn’t happy with the Saints’ offseason thus far

Jimmy GrahamThe New Orleans Saints’ offense is going to have a different look when the 2014 season rolls around.

Lance Moore, his 37 receptions, and 457 yards this past season were released on Friday. So was running back, and all-purpose extraordinaire, Darren Sproles. That’s another 220 rushing yards, 71 catches, and 604 receiving yards out the door.

Among those who will be suiting up for the Saints later this year is Jimmy Graham. Just because the two-time Pro Bowler is safe from the axe doesn’t mean he’s happy with what what has transpired to this point.

The two-time Pro Bowler took to his Twitter account Friday to express his displeasure with the way the offseason has unfolded thus far.

Graham, of course, had the franchise tag placed on him by the Saints and was designated as a tight end. The difference between being tagged as tight end compared to a wide receiver (which Graham would prefer) is a little over $5 million. That’s significant.

The possibility of Jimmy Graham and the Saints agreeing to a long-term contract extension does exist. Extra room under the salary cap would help make that a reality.

Jimmy Graham reportedly wants top-5 WR money

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham is looking to get paid, and that’s bad news for the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints and Graham could end up in a standoff this offseason because Graham is looking for a long-term contract from the team. New Orleans has already said that they will franchise tag Graham if the two sides are unable to agree on a deal. Graham has said he is not keen on the idea of the team tagging him.

One major dispute that could arise if the franchise tag becomes a real possibility is whether Graham is categorized as a wide receiver or tight end. The best wide receivers are paid more money than the best tight ends in the league — the difference in value of a franchise tag for a wide receiver and tight end last year was $4.5 million. Even though he was drafted as a tight end and is listed as a tight end, Graham lined up as a traditional tight end last year just one third of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. Graham was split out frequently as a wide receiver and reportedly will try to make the argument that he should be paid as a receiver.

According to NFL reporter Jason Cole and former sports agent Joel Corry, Graham wants top-five wide receiver money.

If Graham’s camp holds firm on that stance, there could be a huge dispute between the two sides. The Saints are already over the salary cap, so paying Graham an extra $4 million on the franchise tag would be a big deal.

Michael Bennett: Jimmy Graham is soft and overrated

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham was a total non-factor in the New Orleans Saints’ 23-15 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, leading one Seahawks defender decided to run a little wild with the postgame trash talk.

After the game, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who had six tackles and a half sack in the win, called Graham “soft” and the most overrated player in the NFL, as Mike Freeman noted.

Graham had just 1 catch for 8 yards and was only targeted six times because of all the coverage the Seahawks had on him. They did a great job taking him out of the game and deserve credit for it. But let’s be real: Graham has been one of the best at his position for the past three seasons. You don’t catch 86 balls for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns — as Graham did this season — by being overrated.

The comments from Bennett are obviously excessive, but clearly Seattle was pleased with the way they took Graham out of the game. And the soft comment has to do with Graham getting into a fight with the Seahawks before the game:

And what can we say about Bennett? He just seemed to be in a great mood all game:

GIFs via GIFD Sports, Tiger Droppings

Jimmy Graham gets into shouting match with Seahawks before game

Emotions are typically running high when the first whistle blows to signal the start of an NFL playoff game. For Jimmy Graham, the adrenaline was pumping more than an hour before game time on Saturday as the New Orleans Saints prepared to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

Graham got into a shouting match with several Seahawks players during pregame warmups. It seemed like the Pro Bowl tight end was upset that some of the Seahawks players were crowding his space while he was getting loose.

Jimmy-Graham-Seahawks

The dust-up apparently started when Graham smacked Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin’s hat off his head.

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Jimmy Graham bends goal posts on dunk after touchdown

Jimmy Graham goal posts

Jimmy Graham dunked on the goal post after scoring on a 44-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter of Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons, and he left the goal posts crooked after hanging on the crossbar.

You can see Graham hang on the crossbar in the GIF below:

This was the result:

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Jimmy Graham has plantar fasciitis injury, still scored twice

Jimmy GrahamJimmy Graham looked like he might not be able to play on Sunday after it was reported that he has a plantar fasciitis injury, but the New Orleans Saints star tight end still played and did well against the Buffalo Bills.

FOX NFL reporter Jay Glazer reported on Sunday morning that Graham has a partially torn plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis has actually become a common injury in the sports world in the last decade. In recent years, we’ve seen tight end Antonio Gates severely limited by the injury, and NBA player Pau Gasol missed several games with it last season.

Plantar fasciitis injuries are painful and athletes do not feel relief from the ailment until the fascia completely tears. Being able to play through the injury is a matter of pain tolerance. Glazer says Graham was receiving special treatment on his foot before the game and cautioned that Graham would be limited if he decided he could play.

The report was enough to cause panic among many fantasy owners who decided to bench Graham. Graham still managed 3 catches for 37 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Hopefully you weren’t one of the people who benched him.

Jimmy Graham Was Abandoned Over $98/Month in Child Support

Through seven games, Jimmy Graham is having one of the best seasons ever by a tight end. The Saints stud has 45 receptions, 674 yards, and five touchdowns. Over 16 games, that projects to 103 receptions (Tony Gonzalez has the record at 102), 1,541 yards (Kellen Winslow has the record at 1,290), and 11 touchdowns (Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis share the record with 13). You may think it’s improbable that Graham can have so much success despite only being in his second season as a pro (he also only played one season of college ball), but the bigger surprise is that he made it to the NFL despite his rough childhood.

Graham’s emotionally distressful life was chronicled in an excellent piece Sunday by ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.

Growing up, Graham bounced around homes and had various caretakers. His mother often left him with other family members. He even lived with ex-step father for a year. Graham’s mother was getting paid $98 a month from Graham’s biological father for child support. Because he was taking care of Jimmy, the ex-step father wanted the support money. When Graham’s mother didn’t provide it, the ex-step father dropped young Jimmy off at social services.

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