Although other players have taken notice of the Jimmy Graham ruling and adjusted their Twitter profiles accordingly, the Saints tight end* has said nothing to indicate any emotion resulting from the loss of $5.3 million in 2014 salary via the drawing of an arbitrary four-yard line by arbitrator Stephen Burbank.
Action means more than any words Graham can use; if he hopes to have a chance to finalize an appeal of the ruling before July 15, the deadline for signing a long-term deal, Graham needs to file his appeal immediately and request under Article 15, Section 8(d) of the CBA an expedited review.
If he’s going to seek a quick appeal, Graham probably should have filed it already.
Chances are he won’t seek to accelerate the timetable; the CBA requires a showing of “good cause” to speed up the appeal process. By waiting until April 28 to file his grievance for something that happened in February, it easily can be argued that Graham waited too long to pull the cord on the litigation lawnmower.
It becomes less easy to predict Graham’s next move as it relates to the possibility of working out a long-term contract before July 15. If the Saints take money off the table after winning the first round of a two-round cash fight, Graham may decide to show up as late as possible (the Thursday or Friday of the first regular season game), sign the one-year tender, and take the $7 million. Which is more than he has earned during his first four NFL seasons.
Not signing a long-term deal also gives Graham a chance to win back the $5.3 million, if the three-person panel decides that Burbank was wrong. It also gives Graham a chance to attract another suitor, which remains possible but unlikely.
Bottom line? Even though the Saints “won” on Wednesday, they may eventually lose in one or more ways — from losing the appeal to losing the player’s trust to literally losing the player to another team.