METAIRIE, La. — Saints general manager Mickey Loomis would rather not get into the act of publicly negotiating a new deal for prolific tight end Jimmy Graham.
But there is one thing he will say.
The Saints strongly like the idea of keeping the fourth-year player around.
“He knows that we want to have him here for the long term and his entire career,” Loomis said, “and I think he wants to be here for that same period, so those things have a way of working out for us.”
Graham came into the NFL as a bit of a project when the Saints drafted him in the third round in 2010. The former basketball player was short on football experience but long on talent.
He proved the team’s leadership correct in 2011 when he broke out. In the past two seasons, he has caught the sixth-most passes (184) in the NFL. His 25 touchdowns since 2010 are second-most in the NFL since 2010. And he’s only 1,200 or so yards from becoming the Saints all-time leader for yards by a tight end.
Meanwhile, up in New England, the Patriots signed Rob Gronkowski to a reported six-year, $53 million contract in 2012 and Aaron Hernandez to a reported five-year, $40 million extension. Hernandez has since been cut by the Patriots after being arrested and charged with murder.
Regardless, Loomis said Graham hasn’t shown any signs of letting contract negotiations get in the way of another standout season.
“I have not seen one single sign of that from Jimmy,” Loomis said.
And that’s about as much as Loomis would say about the subject.
“We will talk about it and we have talked about them,” Loomis said, adding that other players are entering their final contract season. “Those may or may not happen. We are just going to see how this unfolds these next few weeks and it is possible.”