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Saints to use Jimmy Graham’s Twitter bio against him in arbitration hearing

Jimmy Graham’s Twitter bio could come back to haunt him, if you can imagine that.

Graham and the Saints/NFL are in a dispute over how the All-Pro pass catcher should be labeled. The Saints placed the franchise tag on Graham and argue that he is a tight end. Graham says he should be considered a wide receiver since he lines up split 67 percent of the time according to ESPN Stats and Information.

The difference between what position Graham is considered is significant; the franchise tag for a tight end would cost around $7 million, and it’s over $12 million for wide receivers.

The Saints/NFL and Graham/NFLPA met for arbitration Tuesday over the issue. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport gave a preview of each side’s planned arguments.

So what’s wrong with Graham’s Twitter bio? He identifies himself as a tight end in it:

Jimmy Graham Twitter bio

Since Graham is more of a hybrid tight end, I think the fair solution would be to give him the median between the two amounts. Wouldn’t that be an easy fix?

H/T Awful Announcing

Darren Sproles’ wife Michel blasts Saints on Instagram

Darren Sproles wife Michel

There is very little loyalty in the NFL, and Darren Sproles’ wife is finding that out the hard way.

Sproles’ wife, Michel, blasted the New Orleans Saints organization on Wednesday for the way they’ve handled her husband.

Sproles is entering the final year of his contract with the team. On Monday, a report said the team was likely to cut the veteran back. Then on Tuesday, Sproles found out via Twitter that the Saints were planning to trade him rather than release him.

It’s definitely been a rough time for the Sproles family to see all this play out over social media the past few days, and clearly Michel was frustrated. Here’s what she wrote:

Michel Sproles Instagram

Sproles quickly felt the heat from that Instagram note and clearly was uncomfortable. She wrote this message as a follow-up:

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Saints had to spend an extra night in Seattle because of plane issue

Sean-Payton-One-year-SuspensionThe New Orleans Saints suffered their most embarrassing loss of the season at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. Drew Brees and company could not move the ball and Rob Ryan’s defense had no answers for Russell Wilson and his arsenal. And just when the Saints thought it couldn’t get any worse than a 34-7 loss thousands of miles from home, their plane broke down.

According to The Baton Rouge Advocate, the Saints’ team plane had issues on Monday night and could not take off. New Orleans safety Rafael Bush seemed to confirm the news with a very sad tweet.

The real concern for Sean Payton’s team is that they have an incredibly important game upcoming against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night. The winner will overtake sole possession of first place in the NFC South and be in prime position to earn a first round bye in the playoffs. A terrible night got even worse for the Saints because of mechanical issues, and a short week of preparation became even shorter.

H/T Shutdown Corner

Saints players wore earplugs during game against Seahawks

Drew-Brees-earplugs

It didn’t work. The Seattle Seahawks destroyed the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and never turning back en route to a 34-7 win. The 68,000-plus in attendance at CenturyLink Field, also known as the game’s best 12th man, regained the Guinness World Record for crowd noise during the victory. But did the Saints players hear it?

Prior to the game, ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported that several Saints players were wearing custom earplugs that head coach Sean Payton ordered to help block out the sound. Payton told Salters that he remembered Brett Favre wearing them when the Minnesota Vikings traveled to New Orleans during the 2009 playoffs.

The players were fitted before Thanksgiving and Payton said they loved the ear plugs because they allowed them to hear calls at the line of scrimmage and block out fan noise. But there’s no possible way noise wasn’t a factor. The Saints never look that lost. At this point, it seems doubtful that any team in the NFC is going to be able to travel to Seattle and beat the Seahawks in cold weather with that kind of crowd noise.

Photo via For the Win

Jonathan Vilma rips anonymous Saints player for calling out Steve Spagnuolo: ‘We’re not the Jets’

Steve-Spagnuolo-SaintsThe New Orleans Saints had one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season, which of course reflects poorly on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. It was a hectic year in New Orleans between the bounty scandal and the suspension of head coach Sean Payton, so it’s tough to judge anyone based on the past 10 months.

At least one Saints player feels as though Spagnuolo is to blame for a disappointing 2012 season. In speaking with the The Times-Picayune on Tuesday, the anonymous player reportedly gave an emphatic “yes” when asked if Spagnuolo deserved to be fired after a season in which the Saints set an NFL record for yards allowed.

“Players have no say in anything,” the player said. “It was (a) complete opposite from before where it was a simple D that players had lot of control and say. We couldn’t suggest (expletive)…Nothing ever changed. It was his way only.

“Don’t even get me started on lack (of) ability to adjust during games. Bad, bad, bad.”

On Wednesday, linebacker Jonathan Vilma ripped the player for making such a bold statement but being too much of a coward to attach his name to it. He also took issue with the paper for running the story.

“No. I’m bothered you reported it,” he told The Times-Picayune. “We’re not the Jets who run to the media for everything.”

Vilma said his issue was with the player remaining anonymous, not with the opinion he shared.

“That’s not the question or the point,” he said. “If he’s man enough to tell you, he should be man enough to put his name on it. And you should do the same.”

Fellow linebacker Curtis Lofton defended Spagnuolo’s system on Wednesday but acknowledged that it is more complicated that the one Gregg Williams had in place before him. He also blasted the anonymous player for acting like a “coward.”

“You definitely should put your name on it, especially with those type of comments,” Lofton said. “Whoever said it is a coward. … I don’t agree with those comments. I feel like if something like that needs to be said, go directly to the coach and talk that out instead or airing in-house business through the media.”

Via The Star-Ledger

Sean Payton reportedly agrees to new contract with Saints

Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints reportedly have agreed on a contract that will keep the head coach with the team for the next few years, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer first reported.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter says the deal is for five years, while CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman says the compensation is in the ballpark of Bill Belichick’s $7.5 million salary per season.

There had been speculation the past few months that Payton, who was suspended for the season because of the bounty scandal, might leave New Orleans after a contract extension he and the team had agreed upon was rejected by the league. Payton was mentioned in connection with with the Dallas Cowboys job, but Jerry Jones appears set to retain Jason Garrett as his head coach.

Payton has been with the Saints since 2006 and has gone 67-37 with them. He has led the team to four playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl win.

Without Payton as coach, the Saints are going through their worst season since an 8-8 finish in 2008. They had gone 37-11 the past three seasons and are 7-8 entering Sunday’s season finale.

After seeing the Saints without Payton, it’s hard to say he’s not worth that kind of money. Drew Brees has thrown the second-most interceptions of his career (18), and he has his lowest completion percentage (62.7%) since 2003. About the only upside to the suspension for Payton, besides having some time off, is that his bank account should see a nice benefit.

Giants P Steve Weatherford doesn’t believe Sean Payton has no contact with Saints

strong>Sean Payton is prohibited from having any contact of any kind with the New Orleans Saints this season. By definition, he is “prohibited from direct or indirect communication of any sort with employees of the 32 clubs, including through third parties; and such prohibited communications shall include, but are not limited to, phone or electronic contact.” While we’re not saying Payton has ever violated those terms, we have no way of knowing for sure.

Many people feel it would be naive to think that Payton hasn’t spoken to his team at any point this season. One of those people is New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford.

“Of course he will get his message to them somehow,” Weatherford and other unnamed Giants reportedly told the NY Times. “I’m not saying anything about Sean Payton as a person or anything, but I think any coach would do that. It’s not like he’s just going to sit at home and watch the games and not have any thoughts. His message will be heard.”

Weatherford could be right. Even if it’s through a person who knows a person who knows a person who talks to an assistant coach, it would not be surprising to hear that Payton somehow gives the Saints feedback after he watches the games. Rick Nelson, a counterterrorism and intelligence expert who works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the NY Times that there are a number of discreet options Payton could use to keep in touch with the team and there would be “very little” the NFL could do about it.

Whatever the case, the Saints are 5-7 and likely out of the playoff race. Even if Payton has been in contact with the team through some means during the regular season, it clearly hasn’t been enough to make a difference.

H/T Shutdown Corner