Can Jimmy Graham Be Too Good For Saints?
By Greg Barber
As the Jimmy Graham contract dilemma ends, it looks like the New Orleans Saints will be running into another contract situation.
This will depend on how well both Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette play this season. A lot is expected of both players probably more so of Jordan being that he was a first-round draft pick and the fact that he's one of the Saint's best players on defense.
Galette, on the other hand, had to work his way up the ladder and has become a part of a dangerous sack duo with Jordan. From Galette’s very first season when he only played in four games and had four tackles, he steadily climbed to become a valuable player on the Saints defense especially last season where he played in 16 games and recorded 40 tackles and 12 sacks. The dilemma is not whether Galette will produce as a player, but will he produce to the point that he could become unaffordable to the Saints. Cam Jordan will possibly be a free agent or become franchise tagged and deservedly receive a big contract. With Galette’s situation, it will become more complicated for a couple of different reasons. If he has a comparable or better season than 2013, that's going to raise his value pretty high.
Being that pass rushers are always highly valued, Galette could become more valuable to other teams. Plenty of teams will be looking at Galette if he should become a free agent, which the Saints probably want to make sure doesn't happen. By most accounts, Galette loves living in New Orleans and playing for the Saints. This doesn't mean that he should take a hometown discount. The least expensive and probably smarter move will be to re-sign Galette before the season begins to lock him in at a lower price. But history shows the Saints will probably wait until season's end to make any offers just in case he does not improve on what he did in 2013.
Another reason the Saints are probably holding off on re-signing Galette right now could be based on what happened with rookie linebacker Ronald Powell, who was drafted in the fifth round of this year’s draft. Powell was drafted because of his pass rushing skills. If he makes the team, this will give the Saints a little leverage in negotiations and a plan B should Galette leave.
Also what Jordan will be looking for on his next contract could be a huge factor in whether the Saints can actually keep both Jordan and Gallete. The likelihood is the Saints will keep Galette at a reasonable price. But do not be surprised if the Saints allow him to walk if he overvalues himself on the market.
It's hard to see Galette in the same negotiation battles as Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham.