Although I have not yet seen all the particulars of Jimmy Graham’s new contract, Mike Florio of PFF has provided some details on the 4-year/$40 million pact reached between Graham and the Saints earlier this morning.
Estimated Details of Jimmy Graham’s Contract
Per Florio: “The $8 million Graham is due to make next year becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2015 waiver period. This means that, as a practical matter, the Saints won’t be cutting Graham before the injury guarantee becomes a full and complete guarantee.”
Since New Orleans would have to release a healthy Graham within 3 days of the Super Bowl, the $21 million that Graham will receive over the next two years is fully guaranteed for all intents and purposes.
Graham is then set to make a combined $19 million in 2016 and 2017 (*the respective amounts per year are not yet known. I have assumed a $9 million 2016 base and $10 million 2017 base in the chart above).
Ultimately, Graham has to be pretty happy with the way things turned out. Sapped of all negotiating leverage after the franchise tag grievance ruling by an independent arbitrator, he still became the leagues highest paid tight end in terms of average annual salary. The likelihood of Graham earning all $40 million is very high, and he has a chance to hit the open market again at the age of 31.
The Saints still hold the option of franchising Graham after 2017. However, this is unlikely, as it’d cost ~$15.6 million (120% of his 2017 cap hit).