Tight End Notes: Finley, Keller, Davis, Jags

The league’s most productive tight end became the league’s highest-paid tight end earlier today, with Jimmy Graham agreeing to terms on a four-year deal with the Saints. Although we’re still waiting on all the specifics, the contract reportedly has an average annual value of $10MM, which would be the highest per-year amount ever for the position.

While Graham’s contract saga appears to be over, there are a handful of other players looking to sign or restructure contracts of their own. Let’s round up the latest on a few tight ends around the NFL….

  • Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported last night that Jermichael Finley would undergo a series of medical tests this week and would send those results to all 32 NFL teams in hopes of generating interest. Today, Pelissero passes along a series of quotes from the former Packer explaining why he wants to continue his playing career rather than trying to collect a $10MM insurance policy and retiring.
  • Finley’s explanation: “It’s a pride issue now. I’ve got a lot of pride. I’ve been playing this game for free for 20 years when I was a kid, so it ain’t about the money. It ain’t about how much I can get and how much my agent can get and whatnot. It’s all about the love of the game. We all know the money’s going to come and it’s going to go. I just want to go out there and be able to showcase these skills that I’ve been working on for months now, since I got hurt in October.”
  • Dustin Keller, who is coming off a serious knee injury, is still making progress in his recovery, according to Pelissero (via Twitter). Keller hopes to play this season, but isn’t in a rush to sign with a team.
  • It’s safe to assume that Graham’s new annual value of $10MM becomes a target for Vernon Davis as he attempts to negotiate a new deal with the 49ers, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. In my opinion, it’s probably also safe to assume the Niners won’t pay him that much. Davis is currently in line for base salaries of just $4.7MM in 2014 and $4.35MM in 2015, though his cap hit is more sizable due to bonus money.
  • A pair of tight ends who are eligible for extensions weighed in via Twitter on Graham’s new contract, with Jordan Cameron of the Browns and Julius Thomas of the Broncos passing along their congratulations. Presumably, both players will also have Graham’s deal in mind when they negotiate their own extensions.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union examines the tight end situation for the Jaguars, who will need to figure out their third player at the position behind Marcedes Lewis and Clay Harbor.
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