Can the Saints Even Afford to Pay Jimmy Graham a Wide Receiver Salary?

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Below are answers to reader questions submitted Friday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

Looking at the schedule How do you think the USA will fair in the World Cup? - CSC M.

I hate to burst the bubble of all the soccer fans out there, but I really don't pay attention to the sport, even during the World Cup. Like most Americans, I will hop right on the bandwagon if they win a couple of games and advance and pretend like I've cared the entire time. That said, the one thing I do know about this year's World Cup is that America is in the Division of Death with Ghana, Germany, and Portugal. So it sounds like they won't fair too well.

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Do you think having sex the day before a Saints game makes a difference in the outcome? - Tim P.

If coach Payton doesn't have a problem with it, then neither do I. Like coach said, "I'm for whatever we've been doing. How's that?"

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If the arbitrator rules Jimmy is a WR, does that immediately change the tag figure?? if that is the case, that would put us over the cap right away right?? and if that were to happen, what do you see the Saints doing to get back below it?? - John M.

Good question. My understanding is that it would immediately change his tag figure. The current Saints salary cap figure assumes Graham plays this season under the tight end franchise tag for $7 million. If Graham is ruled a wide receiver, his salary and cap hit jump to $12.3 million. That would be an increase of over $5 million. Since the Saints have only $1,718,621 in salary cap space, that would  put them over. Fortunately, there would be an easy way for the Saints to get back below the salary cap: sign Graham to a damn long-term deal! That would spread out his salary cap hit over the length of his new contract and greatly lessen the hit this year.

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Do you think Sean will be less predictable on offense, particularly when using Mark Ingram? - Dan K.

I would love to answer yes to this question but the truth is I doubt much changes. Last season Payton was coming off a year-long suspension. He had an entire year away from football to get creative but I didn't see much difference. So I wouldn't imagine wholesale adjustments are in the future with just a regular off-season to work with.

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What Saints veteran(s) could surprisingly lose their job this year? - C. N.

There are a few names I would throw out there. Champ Bailey is one. After 16 years, he might not have anything left in the tank. With so much competition among the crowd of wide receivers, Robert Meachem or Joseph Morgan might find himself without a job. And Shayne Graham could get out-kicked by Derek Dimke.

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Which will be the more dominant unit: the defense or the offense? - Ben D.

I can't believe I am going to say this but my money would be on the defense. Last year the Saints had both the league's 4th best offense and defense in terms of yards per game, so they were even. This is the year I think we see the defense finally outshine the offense. That's not to say the offense will be turn lousy, but the organization has definitely continued to emphasize an improved defense under Rob Ryan.

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Which game if any are you most nervous about this season and why? - Kaz

The Thursday night game against the Panthers in Carolina on October 30th. The Saints will have an incredibly short week coming off a Sunday night game against the Packers the weekend prior. They will have little time to recuperate and prepare, they've got to go on the road, and they've got to face a tough division opponent in a game that could have serious playoff implications. No sir, I don't like it.

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How do you think the NFC South stacks up this year? - ATX

On paper all four of the teams look pretty good. You would expect it to be a tight, crowded race to the top spot all season long. But it rarely ever turns out that way once the season starts. One team is always surprisingly bad (see: Falcons last season) and another team surprisingly good. I have no idea how each team will finish, I just hope the Saints aren't the team that surprisingly stinks up the joint this year.

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Dave would you consider Sports Hernia's the new epidemic in the NFL? - Metry M.

Possibly, but it's pretty insignificant in terms of seriousness. Head injuries were, are, and always will be the major epidemic of concern in the NFL.

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