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What would you have paid to keep Graham?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by JoeSixPat, Mar 8, 2007.

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  1. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Last offseason there was quite the debate on this board about letting Graham go or making an effort to keep and sign him....

    My feeling was that as a player who acted primarilly as a blocker, I just couldn't see us paying big bucks to keep a role player. Actually I do recognize that Graham isn't a bad receiver - but given injuries and game planning, we've simply never used him as a real offensive threat (I suspect Denver will use him diffently at the price they paid, but that's another matter)

    Others felt strongly that Graham was among the best TEs in the league primarilly because of his excellent blocking, and that we would and should ante up a big time offer that paid him like a Top 5 TE.

    Now, with the Broncos signng Graham to a 5 year $30 million contract ($15 guaranteed) I'd say both sides were right.

    Clearly the market either a) overpaid or b) truly feels that Graham is near the best TE in the league.

    And just as clearly (we hope) we've been able to find a value priced TE who has excellent blocking, if not subpar receiving, skills.

    I think we can all agree that $5-6 million a year (I predict Graham will be cut after Year 3 in Denver) isn't something we were about to pay for a guy who averages 12-13 games a season and 2 catches a game.

    So, Patsfans - what would YOU have been willing to pay Graham?

    Before free agency I said no higher than $3 mil a season. I might have been willing to see the team go for $3.5 million a season but I don't think I'd have gone for much more than $10 million guaranteed (again, looking at it as a 3 year contract).

    Do you think Denver overpaid? Since we're the true "experts" having watched Graham for years, what do others - especially those who were pushing hard to re-sign Graham - think he was worth to us in particular in terms of contract value?
  2. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rookie

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    Interesting question. I would have paid Graham exactly what we paid K. Brady. Not a penny more.

    The reason is that Thomas has developed into a solid receiving and blocking TE, we've still got Watson, and K. Brady is now on board to provide the type of game Graham was producing. With Thomas's improvement and Brady's inclusion, I don't see much of a dropoff, so why eat up a lot more cap space by keeping Graham?
  3. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thomas has had ONE good game where he showed good receiving and ok blocking skills. I would hardly say that he'd developed into a solid receiving and blocking TE. Remember that Thomas wasn't on the field in the play-offs much at all. And we needed players.

    That being said, I wouldn't have paid Graham more than 3.5 mill a year and certainly not 10 mill guaranteed. The problem is that that Pats didn't use Graham effectively. They basically made him a 3 OT at times, helping out Ashworth, Gorin, Kaczur, Britt and O'Callaghan. Graham even lined up next to Light on more than a few occasions. The problem was that the pats haven't been able to keep their OTs healthy. The Pats have used 4 OTs every year since BB got here with very little continuity, unfortunately.
  4. skaIownsIyou

    skaIownsIyou Rookie

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    graham was a good TE but not considered one of the best int he league, he's known for his blocking but since the FA market in TE's was so thin, denver did its best to sign graham

    if that means overpaying then you gotta do what you gotta do
  5. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    I was thinking $4-4.5 million/year.

    We now have reporting saying the Patriots' thoughts were similar.

    I was hoping they'd somehow get an Asante deal done so that they could franchise Graham.
  6. TomBrady'sGoat

    TomBrady'sGoat Rookie

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    i'm with joesixpat, 3M/yr seems right. Maybe up to 4M/yr because of free agent inflation. Denver paid him for what they hope he can become, meaning that if he doesn't become a top TE they overpaid and if he does they're paying market value.
  7. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think he was overpaid in Denver, not sure if he has the tools to do what he thinks he can do, never convinced me that he was a tight end in the Gates or Gonsalves mold. He is more of a blocking tight end who can catch a pass. Not a pass catching tight end who also can block. With that being said, I would agree with about 3.5 to 4 a year.. not much more, I am also concerned about the frequency of injury, particularly to his shoulders.
  8. dtbrks

    dtbrks Rookie

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    4 mill/year. I think the pats offer was more than fair.
  9. Pats726

    Pats726 Rookie

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    I agree with what was said in teh orig post...J6Pk...It may have been GOOD to sign him, but NOT at what was paid by Denver...besides THAT factor and the fact that he was being wooed by a few teams, he also wanted to be used more as a receiver. The problem was that he had the dropsies...and that only improved somewhat in the years. Watson..Thomas are BY FAR the better receivers..hands..getting open. SO while I would have loved to have kept him..I think he wanted out..an expanded role..and that wa sas much the reason as anything else. PLUS I really believe he wished to go west..closer to home...EVEN though I remember many reports saying he did NOT wish to go back to the Denver area. An offer one can NOT refuse. Brady will be fine!! And he's NOT that subpar catching the ball. And in the next year or so, they will draft a blocking tight end..for the future OR..maybe Kranchick or??
  10. Fumblerooski

    Fumblerooski Rookie

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    Exactly my thoughts as well. Too bad they couldn't get a long term deal done with Samuel in time. This would have kept Graham here. This also worries me for the future. It doesn't look like he is interested in staying here long term and still wants to hit Free Agency.

    CB has to be addressed in the draft. With all of the activity the Pats have had this off season at LB and WR, I have turned my thoughts toward the CB spot as that is the one that justifies a first round pick probably more than the other two.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
  11. richpats

    richpats Banned

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    Denver paid Graham for his blocking ability and if he thinks he'll get anymore chance to catch passes there than NE then he's dreaming. Cutler is less mobile QB than Plummer and he developed good chemistry with Scheffler at the end of last season.
  12. TheSeymonsta

    TheSeymonsta Rookie

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    I would have done 5 years 20 Million with 10 million up front..Max
  13. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Keep in mind all we heard of the Patriots deal were the gross number "$ 4 mil a year" - never any indication of how many years or what the guaranteed money was...

    I suspect, just like the Bronco's offer isn't truly $6 million a year, the Patriots offer wasn't truly $4 million a year.

    I look at the Bronco's offer as a guaranteed 3 year $5 million and change (the change being his actual salary) a year contract - not really a 5 year $6 million a year contract.

    My guess is the Pats offer was probably in the $3.5 a year guaranteed range for 3 years or so.
  14. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    My guess is that's probably exactly how the $4 million a year figure you heard the Patriots mention was derived - making it more like a 3 year $3.5 million a year guaranteed contract.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
  15. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    ARE YOU BLIND!!!!! This is ANOTHER good example of a player getting tagged with a rep that is NEVER going to leave him. AND fans that watch the game with their hearts, not their eyes. Graham HASN'T had the "dropsies" since 2003 and Watson dropped what seemed like a pass a game.

    Now I'm not "down" on Watson, but "it is what it is" and Watson, despite all his many attributes, had a tendency to fight the ball. On the other hand, Graham who had VERY FEW opportunities this year, caught the ball VERY well. Including that VERY TOUGH catch in the Colt game.

    Graham WAS victimized by his past reputation. He was victimized by the need to keep him in to pass block way too often. He was victimized by his own blocking skills. AND like all Pats receivers, he was victimized by a system that spread the ball around.

    I think, if healthy, Graham will be the 50-60 catch TE we imagined when he was drafted in 2002. I really don't think he left here soley because of the money. He left to get home. He left to get into an offensive system that will get him the ball more. He left to get into an offensive system that WON'T require him to be a key blocker at the point of attack in the run game, and thus put less wear and tear on his body, and perhaps lengthen his career.

    I don't think Graham will EVER come close to the receiving figures that Gates and Gonzales put up, but as an ALL ROUND TE, he is one of the best in the league, and should be paid as much. I think $4MM/yr was fair, on the other hand, as we have seen, $5MM/yr is the inflated market price, and it seems all these contracts are guaranteeing about half the money.

    For what the Pats would have had him do, he isn't worth the money he got. Also for what the Pats would have him do, KBrady is a good fit and there shouldn't be much of a drop off in the TE's group production. It might even improve as Watson and Thomas improve. What we DO lose is the THREAT of having a guy who could go deep OR be the key blocker in the run game. We have a great blocker and we have guys who can get deep and are decent blockers. What we lost was the guy who could do both.

    YOU CAN'T KEEP EVERYBODY
  16. Fencer

    Fencer Rookie

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    Ken,

    I thought you had switched to the "Keep Graham" side. Am I wrong? Or are you blown away by the alternative uses of the money (e.g., Thomas)?

    Or do you just have a soft spot for guys who successfully make the Broncos roster? :D :D :D

    (Note to the casual reader -- the Broncos cut Ken in training camp two years running. Late in camp, if I recall the story correctly.)

    I agree with you completely about the body wear and tear, however. His career may be well extended by this move.

    Mark Bavarro only lasted 8 years or so.
  17. patsfan13

    patsfan13 Hall of Fame Poster PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I agree with you here. I think we underrate Graham as a pass catcher, due to issues with the OL and his outstanding blocking skills he was asked to take on more of a role as a blocker than as a receiver. That doesn't mean he couldn't catch the ball.

    M Bravaro thought Graham was the best all around TE in the game. IMO that is a good assessment.

    However TE is a position where we could afford to lose a player and replace him with a role player.
  18. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    No, Fence, I was pretty much resigned to the fact the Graham was gone, for all the reasons other than money I commented on. Nice catch on the Bavarro (from Danvers, MA BTW) If I were the Broncos I'd have a real concern about the wear and tear issue with Graham. Wasn't there concern he might have 'chronic' problems with his shoulders.

    At any rate for the way the Pats used him, as I stated, I think we will be alright. I think he'll be more of a factor for Denver than he has been for us...unfortunately.

    BTW- For the record, my first camp with Denver I was pretty much camp fodder. I did have a legit chance to make the team the second year, but didn't. IIRC correctly it was one of the few smart moves the Denver FO made in the early 70's. :D
  19. ClevTrev

    ClevTrev Rookie

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    Fact is that Graham is a good receiver. Fact is Graham is one of the better blocking TEs. Fact is Graham missed time in the past due to injury; yet, he was a team leader.

    Fact is filling in with K. Brady is going to make up for much of what Graham brought to the table at much less of a cap hit. Fact is, letting Graham go and signing Brady is a good business move. I'd have paid Graham $3.5m/yr. with a healthy bonus before signing Brady. Anything more than that is operpaying considering the players at the position already.

    BTW, Thomas had a few good games at the end of the season. Enough to indicate he's going to be a major contributor going forward.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
  20. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I agree that Graham was a better receiver than his stats showed here.

    Why were his stats so low then?

    In part injury - to himself, and to his "fellow" offensive linemen over the years. ... there were times that even if we WANTED to use Graham as a receiver, we just couldn't given injuries at OL

    Additionally, although I always felt that BB endeavored to utilize a 2 TE set as more of an offensive threat, it seems to me that BB really wasn't interested in having Graham catch too many passes as part of his scheme. Hence - I understand some of Graham's frustration playing here.

    No doubt Graham's blocking helped the running and short pass game - but again, if that's the role that BB envisioned for his additional TE, Brady can fill that role as well and at a fraction of the price.

    So, I would have loved to have Graham back here - for the $3 million or so the Patriots offered him (again, recognize that the $4 million a year offer we heard about were "agent" numbers and not the real contract, just as Graham is not really getting $6 million a season for 5 years from the Broncos)

    Effectively we have Brady signed to a 1 year $2.5 million contract guaranteed - hopefully he proves his worth for the additional year.

    And while I predict that Graham will have career high receiving numbers for the Broncos, I also predict that Brady will wind up having the 15-30 catches that Graham was good for here - serving the same role as Graham at a fraction of the price.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2007
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