The deadline for teams to assign franchise tags is Monday, and between now and then, the Saints will place theirs on tight end Jimmy Graham , a league source has told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Graham, who has finished second, first, and first in fantasy points at his position starting in 2011, would earn about $7 million with the tight end tag next season.
Graham has averaged 90 catches, 1,169 yards, and 12 touchdowns per season since 2011. He's missed only one game in that span.
Update: Graham has confirmed through his own Twitter account that he will be tagged. We just don't know at what position.
It's the obvious move by the Saints as the tag gives them more time to work out a long-term contract with their best receiver.
Graham is fully expected to be tagged as a tight end, which probably won't make him happy. It's already been reported that if Graham was tagged as a tight end, he would file a grievance immediately to be tagged as a wide receiver. Such a tag would bring him about $5 million more, but he's unlikely to win that argument, even with the fact that he was split out wide or lined up in the slot on 67 percent of his snaps this season.
What we are certain of is that Graham will absolutely not become a free agent on March 11. He will remain in New Orleans for 2014. A tenure extended past that hasn't yet been determined. He is clearly the best tight end in football and worth a second-round pick in re-draft leagues.