The NFL news cycle continued on Wednesday when news broke out of New Orleans that New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham had lost his grievance case against the club designating him a tight end instead of a wide receiver with the use of the team's franchise tag for 2014.
Graham will be scheduled to earn a fully guaranteed $ 7.035 million dollars as a tight end instead of $ 12.3 million he could have earned had he'd been given the wide receiver designation.
One can understand why Graham had taken his case to arbitration court with a loss of nearly five million for the upcoming 2014 season. Graham and his legal team had made their case showing that he had lined up split off the line of scrimmage on nearly 70 percent of snaps last season (67%).
The judge found this information not enough to overrule the Saints position that he was drafted as a tight end, attends only tight end meetings with the offense and even his Twitter bio states he is a tight end.
The #Saints can now franchise tag Jimmy Graham as a tight end at $7.053M. A savings of $5M vs a WR tag— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 2, 2014
Yes, Twitter was used in the case against Graham. Mind blowing how social media continues to make an impact in court rulings, but it's a new day and age.
A ruling the other way was said to possibly revolutionize the way other tight end's perceive themselves who also line up on the outside for other franchises including Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas and Lions tight end Eric Ebron, (2014 NFL Draft first round pick).
The Saints will surely continue their best efforts to lock up Graham to a multi-year deal by the July 15th deadline before training camp, otherwise quarterback Drew Brees and Company. might have a very player on their hands, despite now holding most of the leverage in negotiations.
There's little doubt Graham is the best at his position in all of football and he could be a extremely hot commodity if he ever were to hit the open market. The bidding for his services would skyrocket. The Saints better show him the money or else....We've seen this before.
In terms of fantasy football purposes, (because you know that's what most of us fans really care about) the ruling is actually a positive for active fantasy players. Graham will retain only tight end eligibility, thus remaining the cream of the crop at what most consider the thinnest position in all of fantasy.
The use of the franchise tag continues to be a sham of a process in the current NFL. Graham is guaranteed his full salary ruled by the judge for the '14 season, however he receives no protection moving forward beyond this season.
If he somehow injured himself during this season, his market value would significantly drop. The NFL players association (NFLPA) needs to address this issue at the next collective bargaining agreement to protect players against cheap front offices who thrive on the short careers (3-5 years) of star players such as Graham.
If the Saints come their senses, they should be handing Graham, 27, a long term deal that locks him up in NOLA for life.
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