Jimmy Graham is officially a tight end. The New Orleans Saints star can call himself anything he wants, but arbitrator Stephen Burbank announced on Wednesday that Graham will be treated as a tight end for franchise tag purposes. The news was first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The ruling is good for the Saints and bad for Graham. New Orleans can now franchise him as a tight end at $7.053 million as opposed to having to pay him the wide receiver franchise tag, which would be more than $12 million. Graham’s camp had filed a grievance arguing that he lines up as a wide receiver more often than he does as a tight end and should be treated accordingly in contract negotiations.
The Saints are said to have used Graham’s Twitter bio — in which he calls himself a tight end — against him as one of their arguments.
In addition to saving the Saints money against the cap if Graham ends up playing under the franchise tag in 2014, it also gives the team leverage in negotiations for a long-term contract extension. Graham and the Saints have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. New Orleans can now make him the highest-paid tight end in the league without having to pay him as much as the top receivers.Google+