Jimmy Graham TE NO 19 Days6 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 20 Days2 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 22 Days

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 23 Days

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 1 Month

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 1 Month3 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.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 1 Month

Franchise player Jimmy Graham's grievance hearing begins Tuesday.

Graham was tagged as a tight end at $7.035 million, but is fighting for the wide receiver tag of $12.3 million. The NFL will argue that Graham calls himself a tight end, meets in the Saints' tight end room, and lines up where tight ends line up on the field. The Players Association argues that Graham lined up as a receiver 67 percent of the time, which gives Graham and the NFLPA plenty of confidence. Graham's hearing is expected to span the next two days.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 1 Month17 Comments

An NFL source calls the NFLPA's claim that Jimmy Graham should be franchise tagged as a receiver as opposed to a tight end a "naked cash grab."

That's an actual source within the NFL, as opposed to the vague "league source" we typically encounter in these kinds of stories. "It ignores Mr. Graham's use as a traditional tight end on roughly 60 percent of the snaps where he lined up within four yards of the tackle," the league's source said of Graham's argument. "It also ignores the historical use of the tight end position." The league can gripe all it wants, but the fact is, Graham lined up in the slot or out wide on 67 percent of his snaps last season. Graham could win his grievance, upping his tag from $7.035 million to $12.3 million.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months1 Comment

ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett expects franchise player Jimmy Graham to receive an extension worth between $10.5 million and $11 million annually.

Graham is sitting out OTAs and has a grievance hearing scheduled on June 17-18. He could earn an additional $5 million if he's declared a wide receiver, so there's incentive for the Saints to extend him within the next two weeks. Graham lined up in the slot or split wide on 67 percent of his 2013 snaps. The deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to long-term deals is July 15.

Jimmy Graham TE NO 2 Months

Unsigned franchise player Jimmy Graham is sitting out Saints OTAs.

As you were. At the very least, Graham will be sitting out all Saints activities until his grievance is heard on June 17-18. It's of zero concern for his 2014 status.