It was fun last season. Watching the chase of not one, but two TEs while they put up one of the best seasons in the history of TEs in the NFL.
It's hard to not separate the two, since both of them chased records last season with QBs that are the best at their craft.
Jimmy Graham: 99 catches, 1310 yards, 11 TDs
Rob Gronkowski: 90 catches, 1327 yards, 17 TDs
These 2 guys were head and shoulders above any TE in football in 2011. So while Jimmy may play for $540,000 in 2012, I really can not see him playing for under $600,000 in 2013. I think we can all expect 75 catches from Jimmy in 2012, which would be about a 25% drop in catch production but would still add up to a very solid year for a TE. So how could the Saints not offer him a fat extension?
As many have said, money isn't exactly flowing for the Saints today and many of the restructured contracts (Evans, Smith, Hawthorne, Lofton, etc) will jump up dramatically in 2013. It's a real possibility that Jimmy will want at least 8 million a season. That will mean that multiple players will have to go after this season.
1) Sedrick Ellis is gone. I don't care what he does this season. He won't be a Saint in 2013.
2) Devery is gone. They will find someone to pay less to fill his role. They may already have that guy on the roster.
3) Shanle is gone. He's a UFA after 2012. No reason to resign him.
4) Bushrod is gone. I think this is debatable. But I believe the Saints have confidence that if they find the right physical talent, they can make him a solid OL. I would not be surprised to see another surprise guy emerge. I mean look at our line now. How many of those guys were can't miss prospects?
5) Vilma is gone. A year away from football will not keep him worth 5 mil for 2012. Especially since he has 2 guys that can replace him and could make their mark in 2012.
We're about to get young through draft and free agent pick ups on defense. Let's hope Spags gets it done