Saints quarterback Drew Brees has stated that Jimmy Graham is a tight end, not a wide receiver — a position that an arbitrator supported last week, much to Graham’s dismay. But Brees also says Graham is a tight end who is changing the way the position is played.
“At the end of the day, Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the position,” Brees told CanalStreetChronicles.com. “He’s a guy who is so talented at so many things you know and obviously he’s a big part of our offense and I hope that they’re able to reach a long-term agreement here sooner than later.”
As Graham has revolutionized the position, he has become a victim of his own success during his franchise tag fight with the Saints. Graham is so effective in the Saints’ passing game that he’s as valuable as a good wide receiver, but because he also has the size and ability to line up at tight end, the Saints can keep him with the much less lucrative tight end franchise tag.
Eventually, the NFL and the players’ union may need to reach some kind of compromise that adjusts the franchise tag designation for players who function as hybrid receiver-tight ends. But that would only happen down the road, and would benefit the next generation of tight ends who follow in Graham’s footsteps.