by Jason Butt
July 16, 02014
Much of the offseason has been debating whether Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is a receiver or a tight end, after being tagged as the latter by the organization.
Now that he signed a $40 million contract on Tuesday to stay with the Saints and avoid playing the season under the franchise designation — which could have been as a tight end after losing his arbitration hearing — Graham is ready to focus on getting back to playing football as a member of the New Orleans organization.
“I’m beyond excited,” Graham told the Saints' team website. “I didn’t get into football to learn litigation. I got into football to win games with my teammates, friends and coaches. I am extremely happy to get back to what it’s really about.”
Graham is regarded as the NFL's top tight end, with he and New England's Rob Gronkowski having ushered in a new era of playmaking pass-catchers at the position. Graham is easily Saints quarterback Drew Brees' favorite target, as Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013.
Receiver or tight end, Graham is a big-time option in the Saints' high-flying offense. Now that neither side has to worry about his contract situation, they can focus on winning games on Sundays.
“Going through an offseason like I have, you learn a lot and grow from it but you stay motivated,” Graham said. "Being away from it for so long, you realize how much you missed it. It makes you appreciate your teammates, your team, the locker room even more because you miss having that. I am excited to get back in the Dome and hear every single one of our fans scream."
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