NEW ORLEANS -- Overlooking the fields at the Greenbrier where the Saints will begin practice at the Greenbrier on Friday morning, Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis finally on Thursday put to bed the biggest story of the team's offseason: Jimmy Graham's contract.
'We're glad to have it done,' Loomis said. 'I'm sure Jimmy's glad to have it done He's where he wants to be, and we have him under contract, which is what we wanted.'
Payton said it would have been a challenge to begin camp without the two sides reaching the four-year, $40-million deal Graham ultimately signed.
Still, the process offered its own unique set of challenges, mainly because of the uniqueness of the franchise tag grievance between the NFLPA, which represented Graham, and the NFL Management Council.
Loomis said the negotiation was tough, but never 'messy' and ultimately ended well, with no need to repair their relationship.
'There was just an issue that had to do with the way the CBA was written that introduced some more elements to it,' he said. 'I didn't feel like that was really messy. It was a tough negotiation, obviously, but it ended well.'
But for Payton, the conclusion gave him an opportunity to finally reach out to his star tight end on a call he described as one of the best of the summer and allowed the two 'kind of get moving towards this training camp.'