New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is not happy and on Friday night, he let everyone know about it. Upon the news that the Saints had released wide receiver Lance Moore and running back Darren Sproles, as emotional Saints and NFL fans were venting on Twitter, Graham joined the fray, tweeting this:
Wow unbelievable. Shocked and disappointed on everything that's gone on this offseason.— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) March 8, 2014
As you can see, the tweet generated quite a buzz, but probably not the kind Graham had expected or wished for. As a matter of fact, the reaction was surprisingly vitriolic; the assumption by many Saints fans is that the team is clearing up salary cap space by releasing beloved veterans in order to sign him to a long-term contract.
Graham, who was to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, was recently slapped with the non-exclusive franchise tag by New Orleans; as a tight end. He is considered a high priority signing for the team, unless another NFL squad is willing to not only pay him a lot of money, but also yield two first round picks to New Orleans in order to acquire him.
Despite a franchise tag that would pay him $7,035,000 as a tight end in 2014, Graham and his agent Jimmy Sexton are contending that he is a wide receiver, due to him lining up as a wide receiver for over 50% of the snaps he took with the Saints last season. That they would do so is understandable, the wide receiver tag being valued at a much higher pay rate: $12,312,000.
With the NFL siding with the Saints in officially designating Graham as a tight end, he and Sexton are expected to file a grievance against the Saints with the help of the NFLPA. Their objective will be to have him reclassified as a wide receiver. Would an independent arbitrator rule in favor of Graham, he would be guaranteed over $12 million dollars in 2014, that's if he and the Saints cannot come to a long-term agreement prior to the July 15th signing deadline.
With the Saints having to juggle with tenuous salary cap space in order to accommodate Jimmy Graham's high salary demands, his tweet about being disappointed in the release of his now former teammates couldn't have come at a worse time.
Saints fans lashed at him on Twitter; gone was "The Graham Reaper" mentions, instead it was "Look at that soft tight end who can't even block complaining about his own doing!" Even some of Graham's teammates chimed in, albeit in a cryptic fashion. Defensive end Junior Galette posted the following, not long after the tight end's tweet.
One Mans GREED will Lead To....NVM it's 20 OR BETTER!! #BLESSED— SACKMAN (@JuniorG93) March 8, 2014
Galette seemed to imply that Graham's greed would strap the Saints financially, so much that it would lead to their demise. He caught himself mid-tweet and quickly got back to his admitted goal of having 20 sacks or better next season.
Whether or not his disappointment in some of his locker room comrades being released was heartfelt, Graham should have known better and stayed off social media when it comes to the Saints dealings, especially given the fact that he is the centerpiece around which revolves every single move the team will actually be able to make this offseason.
Graham wants his $12 million dollar cake and he wants to eat it too, by having the greatest team assembled around him. Including Lance Moore and Darren Sproles. Welcome to "La La Land" Jimmy, enjoy your stay. Meanwhile, the Saints will continue to deal with this tiny little restrictive thing called the Salary Cap.
Trouble seems to be brewing in Who Dat paradise and the Saints may not even be done with cutting players. According to reports, running back Pierre Thomas' tenure with the team is hanging by a thread and with head coach Sean Payton, other surprise cuts shouldn't really be that surprising.
It could be another eventful day in Saints-land but before all hell breaks loose again, I'll borrow a catch phrase from former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards and offer it as free advice to Saints players on Twitter: "don't press send!"