It’s no secret that Jimmy Graham wants to be paid like a wide receiver.
Graham led the league with 16 receiving touchdowns and was 15th among all players in receiving yards with 1,215. He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the league year in March. However, teams can begin placing the franchise tag on players beginning on Tuesday and that’s where the fight could truly begin.
The Saints, if they elect to use the franchise tag on Graham, will likely designate him as a tight end. If they do so, they apparently can expect an immediate response from Graham.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Graham will file a grievance with the league if he’s not tagged as a wide receiver. The reason it matters is because in 2013, the difference between a tight end and a receiver playing on a franchise tag was a difference of approximately $4.5 million.
Graham has been one of the most productive pass catchers in the league over the last three seasons and believes he deserves to get paid for that production. Considering he’s split out frequently from the line of scrimmage, Graham feels he should be designated as a receiver instead of a tight end.
With no progress being made yet toward a long-term deal, it’s likely this battle is just beginning.