Speaking Wednesday at the NFL Annual Meeting, Payton sympathized with Graham's battle to be treated like a wide receiver in terms of his franchise tag and long-term contract.
"I think that is a byproduct of an antiquated system in regards to franchise numbers. I think those will be revisited and adjusted," Payton said.
It is rare to see a coach stand up for his player like that in a financial matter. He's essentially saying that Graham deserves more on a franchise tag than the NFL rules currently allow. Payton also is admitting that basically, the team will pay Graham like a top receiver on a long-term deal. We wouldn't be surprised if Payton's words are used by Graham's camp in its grievance regarding the tight end's franchise number, if the process makes it that far.
"Very similar to Drew, I think it's not a matter of if, but when," Payton said.