The New Orleans Saints slapped their franchise tag on star tight end, Jimmy Graham. The tag is a non-exclusive one, meaning that any team that sees Jimmy Graham worthy of two first round picks, or any team that can afford to give away two of their first round selections, can woo Jimmy Graham away from the Saints.
When I saw this, I joked on my Twitter that Arizona should get him. But after sitting here and mulling it over, is it truly a good idea? Yes, Arizona is in need of help at several positions, but tight end is one of them. Multiple mock drafts, and multiple draft experts say Arizona will target one of the "elite" tight end prospects in the draft this May.
If this is the case, why not just trade away this years pick and next years for Jimmy Graham? At 27 years old, Graham has 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns. His name has been bounced around as one the best tight end in the game today, in particular, this season with his 1200 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns.
The three key aspects to consider here are Graham's age, potential, and fit in Arians scheme.
Graham is 27, turning 28 in November. If history shows us anything, it's that players hit their peak at 30, maintain it for a year or two, and than slowly decline from there. Signing Graham to a five year deal, sounds logical, but could Arizona do it with cap decisions of their own coming up next season? It's possible if Arizona decides to cut ties with Larry Fitzgerald.
Another aspect is Graham's potential outside of Arizona. There have been so many players that Arizona has signed, who looked good on another team, only to fail in the desert. Stewart Bradley for example. During Arizona's 2011 signing binge, he was a guy who looked good in Philadelphia when he played, but battled through injuries. His signing to the desert was supposed to be a change, but Bradley never saw the field. Does Graham only look good because of the players around him, and the Great Drew Brees throwing him the football?
The last is, Does he fit Bruce Arians mold? Arians likes tight ends who can block first, catch second. We all know Graham can catch, but how is his blocking? If he blocks anything like he catches, he could most certainly fit in Bruce Arians scheme.
This is all mainly a pipe dream. His price tag before the Franchise Tag was high, but now that he's pricey, plus has two first round selections added to his name, it's all but impossible that the Cardinals, or anyone else, steal him from the New Orleans Saints.
If you were Steve Keim, would pursuing Jimmy Graham even cross your mind?