ESPN NFL insider Ed Werder reported earlier today that the Saints are expected to resume contract negotiations with tight end Jimmy Graham this week, but that wasn’t Werder’s only morning update. He has a few more details on Graham, as well as a note on troubled Browns receiver Josh Gordon, so let’s round up the highlights….
- Sources tell Werder that Stephen Burbank’s decision to consider Graham a tight end rather than a wide receiver made the Saints star more appealing to other teams around the NFL. Somewhat lost in the dispute over Graham’s position is the fact that he’s still technically a free agent, albeit a restricted one — if another team is willing to give up two future first-round picks, it could sign the 27-year-old to an offer sheet and hope New Orleans decides not to match it.
- As Werder notes, clubs expecting to draft in the 27-32 range in the first round next year could be top candidates to pursue Graham, since the draft-pick penalty wouldn’t be so harsh. Werder identifies the Patriots, Colts, and Falcons as possible teams to watch. However, he doesn’t believe the Packers would consider such a move since they value their draft picks highly and want to maintain room to re-sign Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.
- Of course, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets, many teams expecting to pick late in the first round don’t have the cap space to make Graham an offer that the Saints would have trouble matching. Of the teams mentioned by Werder, the Colts – with $13MM+ in room – are best positioned from a cap perspective.
- As for Gordon, sources tell Werder (Twitter link) that some people close to the Browns wideout have been urging him “to seek professional assistance for substance-abuse issues” since high school. Gordon’s former Cleveland teammate, D’Qwell Jackson, is among those imploring those around him to reach out. “He needs help, he really does,” Jackson said, according to James Walker of ESPN.com. “He needs people to extend themselves and probably have to do more than they wanted to do. But if [the Browns] care anything about the kid, they have to do it.”
- More Jackson on Gordon: “[He] was a big piece of the Browns‘ future; It’s just unfortunate he didn’t view it that way. He is so valuable. He doesn’t understand how valuable he is to an organization. He has no clue.”