Long before the Saints officially placed a franchise tag on Jimmy Graham, there were discussions about a potential battle over whether Graham should be tagged as a tight end or a wide receiver.
Graham was tagged as a tight end and, as expected, that battle is looming. Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the NFL Players Association has filed a grievance on Graham’s behalf to argue that he should be paid like a wideout.
The CBA states that a player who receives a franchise tag will receive the salary for the position that he “participated in the most plays” during the previous season. The Saints often split Graham out from the formation, which will likely be the crux of his argument that he should be treated differently than tight ends who regularly line up on the line.
The franchise tag for tight ends pays $7.035 million while the figure for wide receivers is $12.312 million, a significant difference that the two sides haven’t been able to bridge in their talks about a long-term contract. If they can’t reach a settlement or agree on a multi-year deal, the grievance would be heard by an arbitrator. Per Pelissero, no date for a hearing has been set.