Since Jimmy Graham has had the franchise tag placed on him by the Saints, the frame of thinking is generally that the door on him has been closed completely. If the Jets were to sign him to an offer sheet, the Saints would surely match him. Even if they didn't match, the price would be two 1st-round picks. So this would essentially break this down into two parts:
1. First, and most importantly, would Jimmy Graham be worth two 1st-round picks?
2. Would the Jets be able to make an offer that the Saints wouldn't match, but wouldn't completely strap the financial freedom that Idzik worked hard to make a reality?
To the first question, I firmly believe the answer is yes. As his impending appeal of the proper application of the franchise tag suggests, he's an extremely versatile TE that is a matchup nightmare. He can be lined up in the slot, on the end of the line, or even out wide if necessary.
The second question is where it gets more interesting. I have seen several rumors that the Jets could front-load a contract that would make it very difficult for the Saints to match. That's a definite idea and a possibility.
But how about a quick flash to the past? Back when the Seahawks and Vikings were trading barbs, the Seahawks signed Nate Burleson to a particularly vengeful 7-year, $49 million deal. The contract given to Burleson had two poison pill clauses. The first clause was that if Burleson were to play five or more games in the state of Minnesota during any single season over the life of the contract, the entire $49 million would become guaranteed. The second clause stated that if Burleson were to earn more per year on average than all of his team's running backs combined, the $49 million would be guaranteed. Since the Vikings obviously played all of their home games in Minnesota, the Vikings were unable to match it.
Let's say hypothetically that the Jets were able to come to an agreement with Jimmy Graham for 5-years, $50 million. What if the Jets were to insert a similar clause that if Graham played five or more games in the state of New Orleans for any single season, that the entire $50 million would be guaranteed? That would make it almost impossible for New Orleans to match.
Not exactly the cleanest of negotiation strategies, but something that seemingly has fallen out of practice that might serve the Jets' future well.
What does Gang Green Nation think?