Saints links: Weaver's past, Graham's future

The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas shared the gripping back-story of newly-signed New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Jason Weaver.

Weaver, a New Orleans native who prepped at Edna Karr High School, left the area eight years ago shortly after his brother was shot and killed – reportedly in the crossfire of a drug deal. At the time, Weaver and his family thought it was best for him to try and pursue his college education and football career elsewhere.

But now they’re all happy that he’s back in New Orleans, continuing to chase his NFL dream after spending time with Tampa Bay, Cincinnati and Miami last year as an undrafted rookie. Weaver said he’s inspired in part by his nephew, Dunstan Jr., who was about 1 year old when his father was killed.

Agent’s take on Graham: Former NFL agent Joel Corry shared his thoughts on the upcoming Jimmy Graham grievance hearing in this piece for CBSSports.com. He touched upon a number of possible scenarios, but his ultimate conclusion is similar to what I predicted in this weekend’s mailbag -- that it’s still likely Graham will sign a long-term deal with the Saints before July 15.

I agree with Corry that even if Graham loses his grievance and is officially declared a tight end for franchise-tag purposes, there’s still a good chance he’ll become the first $10 million-per-year tight end in NFL history. The bigger question mark is how much Graham will demand if he wins the grievance and is declared a wide receiver (which comes with a mandatory one-year salary of $12.3 million).

Corry also points out that the Saints will have to immediately carve out some more cap space if that happens, since Graham’s salary-cap figure would jump by more than $5 million, and they currently only have $1.935 million in cap space. They could accomplish that by restructuring current deals with high-priced players like Drew Brees, Jahri Evans, Ben Grubbs and Marques Colston.

Corry also breaks down team that he believes could still potentially try and sign Graham to an offer sheet. But I think that’s even more unlikely than it was back in March, since teams would have to be willing to pay around $12 million per year AND sacrifice two first-round draft picks.

Central concern: The Football Outsiders listed the biggest hole on every team’s roster in this piece for ESPN.com that requires Insider access. They went with the center position for the Saints. I still think veteran Jonathan Goodwin will get into the mix at some point. Perhaps the Saints have been waiting until after June 1 because of how veteran signings affect the compensatory-draft-choice formula. But I’m not sure if that’s true since they did spend big on free agent Jairus Byrd and might not qualify for a compensatory pick, regardless.

In the community:

  • The Times-Picayune’s Christopher Dabe caught up with Saints receiver Robert Meachem at a free children’s football camp he hosted with Baltimore Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones. Meachem said he feels “mentally free” now that he’s back in New Orleans, even though he’s under just a one-year, veteran-minimum deal.

  • Cornerback Keenan Lewis is starting up a charity foundation and football camp now that his pro career has brought him back to his home area of New Orleans.

  • The third Black and Gold Hoops Challenge, featuring players like Cameron Jordan, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram, is set for Wednesday night.