OK, so I just wanted to fan the flames a little here for the sake of fun, and no other reason. I want to point out a few facts, a few observations, and leave it open to discussion. I am fully aware that the prevailing opinion is that there is no way on earth the Saints let Jimmy Graham walk. We should remember, however, that they let it get this far, and now it is not totally up to them.
1. Jimmy Graham is more than the best tight end in the NFL. He is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.
2. Jimmy Graham is 27 years young. He is entering his prime.
3. Drew Brees is 35. Even if he lasts as long as Manning or Brady, he doesn't have more than 3-4 years left in the league. What are the odds of another quarterback of his caliber waiting to start right behind him?
4. According to overthecap.com, the Saints will be about $12M OVER the cap. Granted, they will make transactions that bring them under, including restructuring Brees per his public willingness to do so.
6. Saying the New York Jets have cap room to spend would be and understatement.
7. Saying the New York Jets need offensive help would be an understatement.
A Few Concessions:
1. Idzik probably doesn't want to make big splash moves and spend huge money on one player; it doesn't seem his style.
2. There are 3 impressive tight end prospects coming out of this draft that people are VERY high on.
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE knows this is the number one free agent this off season. His impact on the field cannot be understated.
Sure, they might franchise him this year if necessary. But that brings Brees another year closer to retirement, and another year where they will have LOTS of competition in the playoffs, let alone winning the division. The Panthers and Bucs will be better, and I'd wager the Falcons will bounce back as well. Tagging him this year brings the team one more year closer to tougher times, far-removed from the pre-scandal glory days.
So what does this come down to? Well, does Jimmy want to get paid, or does he want to win a championship? It seems to me the Saints' window is closing, and they are on the downswing.
There are a LOT of teams who need help in this area and LOTS of them have LOTS of money to spend. If I had to guess, I would say the Indianapolis Colts is the prime contender. They need the help, they have a stud quarterback who is young and will be elite, the team is on the UPswing, and they've got buckets of money to spend.
Anyway, like I said I just wanted to open the discussion. It seems to me that Jimmy staying in New Orleans is NOT necessarily an open-and-shut case.