Is the salary cap situation worse than we think?

I have to say, I saw it coming.

Last offseason, the Saints made moves to bring over Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, and Brodrick Bunkley to a defense that could use all of the help that they could get. Considering that no one was sure of who or many games some of our starters would miss with the Bountygate mess, the addition of these 3 guys was a very welcome one for me not only from a talent standpoint, but for depth as well. All 3 signed for "very cap friendly for 2012" type of deals. With the salary of all 3 men jumping up tremendously in 2013.

Oh, and there was this Drew Brees contract thing. Definitely the reason why Lofton, Hawthorne, and Bunkley cost the Saints under $2 mil each in cap space in 2012. (Lofton already restructured his deal, now costing the Saints only $3 mil in 2013 but adding on an obligation to pay him $7 mil in 2017. Not bad if he continues playing at a high level. He's only 26).

In my opinion, we're running low on contract redos, and eventually it will bite us in the area that we sit with and type on this site all day. As is, money is really really tight.

And then I read this.

It was posted on the Thomas/Patrick release/waive post earlier this week.

Here's the part that made me cringe.....

This year, the biggest name to watch for a potential holdout is Vikings receiver Percy Harvin. Others, like Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, could choose to do the same. By 2014, there could be a lot more guys who decide to stay away unless they get compensated for the money they didn’t make on their rookie deals — and that they clearly earned.

Uh oh. Could Jimmy consider holding out?

$1,489,285. This is what Jimmy Graham is due to earn in 2013 (according to spotrac).

I don't have to tell any of you how valuable Jimmy Graham is to this offense. This is a 26 year old TE who hasn't earned over $2 mil in salary for the past 3 seasons combined. We're talking 184 catches and 2292 yards in the past 2 years (more than Larry Fitzgerald in both categories and the dude plays TE). The only other TE his age that he can compare his production to has an 8 year, $55 mil contract (Gronk).

I saw this coming. I knew that if Graham had any sort of productive season in 2012, it would be impossible for his contract to not be brought up this year as a topic of discussion. He may be under contract right now, but he's being paid pennies in comparison to what he is worth. And he knows that.

And now multiple contracts are increasing tremendously vs. the cap this season because we had to fit Brees in last season.

I hate to be the buzzkill here, but there will be no Ed Reed. There will be no Anthony Spencer. Unless they agree to very short term, salary friendly deals, Graham will have to be extended. I know, like Gronk, Graham can sign a big long term deal and back load it. But still, he will make more this season than the less than $1.5 mil that he is currently due. This team doesn't click the same without him. And considering that the #2 TE on the roster from 2012 was just released, I'd say his need is even higher.

So am I wrong? Is this not a concern?

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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