Jimmy Graham #80 TE, New Orleans Saints
To quote the great Winston Churchill, Jimmy Graham is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. He used his 6’7″ 265 lbs frame to secure a scholarship at the University of Miami- playing basketball. It was only after he graduated from college that he decided to play football for Miami while taking graduate classes. Graham parlayed his 17/213/5 season into a 3rd round selection of the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Along with NFL personnel directors, many fantasy football owners are wondering which Jimmy Graham will be on the field in 2013. He followed up a 2011 line of 99/1310/11 with a somewhat disappointing 85/982/9 2012 season. In baseball, there is a well known fact that the second time though the league, the new player has a much harder time repeating his original success. This is especially true for Joker (or Move) Tight Ends in the NFL. This style of TE provides a special piece in the chess game played by coordinators on Sundays. Once a Joker shows the ability to continually beat opposing LB and SS, usually DCs begin using their Slot CB to defend them. So this is where real GMs and fake GMs differ in their valuation process. Even though Graham’s numbers may have declined, he has opened up opportunity for the other Saints receivers.
The Tight End market in the NFL is between $6M-$7.5M APY for Top-15 TEs. I would imaging that if Graham’s puts up similar numbers to 2011/12 he will become the highest paid TE in the NFL.
Estimated New Contract: 5 years, $41 million