Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months3 Comments

Jimmy Graham has appealed independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank's decision that he should be franchise tagged as a tight end.

There had been speculation that Graham wouldn't appeal. The lack of an appeal would have been an indication that the sides were ready to strike an agreement before Tuesday's deadline to sign franchise players to long-term contracts. Now, it's uncertain if the sides will come to an accord.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months

The deadline for Jimmy Graham to appeal independent arbitrator Stephen Burbank's franchise tag decision is believed to be Monday, July 14.

It's surprising the NFLPA has taken this long to formally file the appeal. Meanwhile, the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term extensions is Tuesday, July 15. PFT's Mike Florio, an attorney, expects either a long-term deal between the Saints and Graham before July 14 at 4PM, or the appeal to be filed by the NFLPA. Both sides would likely prefer a long-term pact.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months21 Comments

A source with knowledge of the situation tells Profootballtalk.com the Saints were not thrilled with the way arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled in their favor during the Jimmy Graham franchise tag case.

The Saints "disagree" a tight end's position is determined by whether he lines up within four yards of an offensive tackle. They believe three factors distinguish tight ends: 1) Their size 2) The position group with which they meet 3) How they are defended. PFT's Mike Florio, who is an attorney, suggests the Graham case could be "a little more vulnerable to reversal" on appeal. We're still not worried about Graham losing tight end eligibility in fantasy football leagues.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months2 Comments

Profootballtalk reports the Saints have offered franchise player Jimmy Graham a multi-year contract worth $9.5 million annually.

PFT's Mike Florio hints the offer has been on the table for some time now, and the Saints have no plans to withdraw it, even after winning the arbitration case against Graham on Wednesday. At $9.5 million per year, Graham would be the league's highest-paid tight end. The offer also reportedly contains a "considerable chunk of fully guaranteed money up front." Florio expects the two sides to hammer out a deal at some point before the July 15 deadline.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months6 Comments

According to agent Jimmy Sexton, contract negotiations between Jimmy Graham and the Saints will start at "ground zero."

The two sides will have a lot of ground to cover before the July 15 deadline to complete a long-term deal, especially if Graham appeals Wednesday's ruling that deemed him a tight end for franchise tag purposes. Still, it's extremely difficult to see Graham playing on a one-year tender for a meager $7.035 million and it's even more difficult to see the Saints risking a holdout. Expect a deal that pays Graham as an elite receiver to get done just before the clock strikes zero.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months2 Comments

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled that Jimmy Graham is a tight end for franchise designation purposes.

The Saints have won the case, meaning they're scheduled to pay Graham $7.035 million on his one-year tender instead of the $12.312 million he would have gotten as a wide receiver. The two sides will continue to work on a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline, and now the Saints have a little extra leverage in negotiations. For fantasy purposes, Graham will retain his tight end eligibility and will not be adding wide receiver status. He's the biggest difference-maker at the game's thinnest position.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 3 Months

Abitrator Stephen Burbank plans to inform the Saints and NFL of Jimmy Graham's franchise tag designation on Thursday, July 3.

Burbank will decide whether the Saints' tight end tag should stick, or whether Graham should be honored as a wide receiver. The "losing" side is expected to then appeal Burbank's ruling. Our ultimate expectation is a compromise in the middle, with Graham maintaining tight end eligibility in all fantasy leagues.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 3 Months

A source with knowledge of the situation tells Profootballtalk.com that a ruling on Jimmy Graham's franchise tag designation is expected this week.

Unfortunately, as PFT notes, "that won't be the end of it" because the losing side will surely appeal. The Saints tagged Graham as a tight end, but the NFL Players Association is arguing he should be paid as a wide receiver after lining up in the slot or out wide on 67 percent of his 2013 snaps. The tight end tag is worth $5.3 million less than the wideout tag. Ultimately, we expect a meet-in-the-middle compromise on the issue. While we don't anticipate Graham losing his tight end eligibility in fantasy leagues, it is possible he could add wide receiver eligibility, which would enhance his value.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 3 Months

In an effort to win Jimmy Graham's grievance against the NFL, the league has used Graham's Twitter bio against him.

While the sides conflict over Graham's position, the NFL is arguing Graham attends tight end meetings, lines up where tight ends in today's game line up, and promotes himself as a tight end on Twitter. (Not a wide receiver.) "Isn't that what we drafted him as?" GM Mickey Loomis said. "Isn't that what he made the Pro Bowl as? That's what we see him as, a tight end. ... That's what makes him valuable." Regardless of the grievance outcome, fantasy owners should expect Graham to maintain tight end eligibility going forward.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 3 Months3 Comments

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports a settlement is unlikely in Jimmy Graham's franchise-tag dispute with the NFL.

Graham appears supremely confident in his argument that he should be tagged as a receiver, and not a tight end. Per Rapoport, the verdict is expected within the next 5-7 days. Rapsheet believes the average annual value in long-term talks would center around the $7.035 million tight end franchise number if Graham loses his grievance. If he wins, he's expected to sign his $12.3 million tender in relatively short order, placing the Saints in a cap bind.