Jimmy Graham, Greg Hardy hit with the franchise tag
Sorry, Jimmy Graham, looks like you won't get that long-term deal.
The Saints reportedly will place the franchise tag on their star tight end before Monday's deadline to reach new contracts, as first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter. This isn't a surprise as the Saints were expected to resort to such a move if they couldn't make way in negotiations.
Graham tweeted this out on Friday:
Confirming it's officially Franchisefriday... TAG ... I guess I'm it...— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) February 28, 2014
However, the drama doesn't end there. Graham had been hoping to be tagged as a wide receiver instead of as tight end, since he often splits out wide in formations instead of in a three-point stance. However, the real reason has more to do with the $5 million more Graham would have received as a receiver.
Graham's camp could file a grievance if he is tagged as a tight end. He has caught at least 85 passes in each of his past three seasons in New Orleans. He also has 41 career touchdown grabs.
Also getting hit with the franchise tag on Friday was Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Apparently, negotiations between the team and Hardy's agent Drew Rosenhaus broke down and the team resorted to the franchise option to prevent him from leaving for another team.
Hardy had a franchise single-season record 15 sacks for the Panthers in 2013. He will now make $12.45 million in 2014.
"[Hardy] was a big reason we were able to led the league in sacks last year and he keeps our defensive line intact," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said to the Associated Press.