Saints, Jimmy Graham remain 'several millions apart' in contract talks

The New Orleans Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham appear to have made little to no headway on contract talks with the franchise tag deadline looming March 3.

The two sides are several millions of dollars apart in contract talks, according to Fox Sports. The Saints are willing to make Graham the highest paid tight end in the NFL, but Graham is looking for roughly $12 million per season, according to the report.

This tussle should come as no surprise and coincides with the argument of whether Graham should be paid like a tight end or a wide receiver. | The Times-Picayune reported several months ago the Saints slid over multiple contract offers to Graham to no avail.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been staunch in his stance that the team will place the franchise tag on Graham as a tight end if there's no long-term deal by the deadline. NFL Network reported Graham's camp, led by agent Jimmy Sexton, will file an immediate grievance claiming Graham should be tagged as a wide receiver based on the percentage of snaps Graham has received in a wide receiver role.

The franchise tag figures for a tight end and wide receiver aren't concrete yet as the NFL has yet to set the 2014 salary cap, but the difference between being dubbed a tight end or wide receiver could vary by about $4.5 million in favor of a wide receiver.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski set the tight-end barometer when he signed a six-year extension two years ago with the deal reportedly maxing out at $54 million.

"That's not for me to decide," Graham said nearly two weeks ago when asked if he should be considered a wide receiver or a tight end. "I'm going to do, and I'm going to play, whatever I'm asked to do. It's that simple."

When asked where he stood on his contract talks with the Saints, Graham said at the time, "For me, I'm just standing. I take everyday one day at a time. I'm just going to wait and see what happens because that's where it's at."

From the looks of negotiations, the Saints and the 2013 NFL touchdown reception leader aren't standing too close together with less than a week left before the tag deadline.

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