NEW ORLEANS, LA (The Spread) – The tussle between Jimmy Graham and the Saints over the tight end’s contract dispute has delivered a happy ending for all parties involved.
On Monday afternoon Graham appealed independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank’s decision that he should be franchise tagged as a tight end. There had been speculation that he wouldn’t appeal, but he followed through with the decision to fight Burbank’s ruling. By Tuesday morning, Graham didn’t have to worry about his appeal because the Saints made him a rich man.
New Orleans has signed Graham to a four-year, $40 million contract that contains $21 million in guaranteed money. The deal comes on the verge of the league’s 4:00PM ET deadline that teams have to sign franchise tagged players to long-term contracts. Graham is now the league’s highest-paid tight end at $10 million per year, which bested Ron Gronkowski’s $9 million per year figure.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Saints are 14/1 to win the 2015 Super Bowl. Their odds rank behind only the Broncos (13/2), Seahawks (13/2), 49ers (15/2), Patriots (9/1) and Packers (10/1.) New Orleans is also 8/1 to win its conference in 2014-15 and 1/1 odds to win the NFC South Division.
The Saints’ win total for the 2014 regular season has also been set at 10. With Graham back in the fold, New Orleans’ floor for wins this season should be 10, assuming guys like Graham and Drew Brees stay healthy. They have one of the best coach-quarterback-offensive weapon trios in the league in Sean Payton, Brees and Graham and should produce another 10-plus wins in 2014.