Report: NFLPA files franchise tag grievance on behalf of Jimmy Graham


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.

53 responses to “Report: NFLPA files franchise tag grievance on behalf of Jimmy Graham

  1. Vernon Davis > Jimmy ‘soft as a pillow’ Graham. Him and especially Drew ‘cry baby’ Brees wine way to much. They will never pass SF or Seattle.

  2. Interesting to see whether the finding is that he was “a TE split out wide” or “a WR who sometime lines up at TE.” How could either be wrong? Someone will get screwed unless they just meet in the middle.

  3. Bree’s greed paying dividends. His team killing contract is the gift that keeps on taking.

  4. So he returns all awards and bonuses he has been paid as a Tight -End then? Pro-Bowl money and bonuses for making it? Then going forward he should be labeled a WR, and he’ll never sniff the pro bowl again. he’s not close to a top 20 WR league wide.

  5. this is absurd. if graham wants to be a wide receiver, we can stop giving him recognition when he sets or approaches records for catches, yards, TDs by a tight end.

  6. Not even Calvin Johnson has scored more touchdowns than Jimmy during the past 3 seasons. Vernon Davis? Really? You keep boosting your testosterone levels and I’ll keep counting how many times Jimmy scores.

  7. Welcome to today’s nfl. Where te’s lineup more in the slot than they do on the line. Vernon Davis better than graham?? That’s just laughable. Saints won’t pass the niners?? I could of sworn they beat San Fran but maybe we were watching a different game.

  8. See how over-paying Brees worked out? I think it’s safe to start rooting for the Saints once and awhile as the “Loveable Losers” we all grew up with. Saints fans need no explanation.

  9. Need to fix Fantasy Football to make the TE/WR Flex!!! Since Jimmy put up WR Numbers and kills me each year he is not on my team!

  10. To The grigga49:
    I believe the Saints beat San Francisco in the Dome last year and I personally attended two games in SF in recent seasons where they did the same. The only ones whining, correct spelling, after the 49ers defeat in the Dome were the 49ers, their spoiled brat coach, and their fans. As evidence, you’re still whining. Let it go! They travel to the Dome again this year and I will predict that the Saints will beat the 49ers again. Maybe all you whiners in SF should “wine” a little before the game. It’ll make the loss easier to take.

  11. this is getting beyond ridiculous. Was Reggie Bush a WR when he played for the Saints? He caught more passes than he had runs. Is Junior Gallette a linebacker now, or is he a defensive end? Is every player that is moved around going to start questioning his position when the time comes to sign a new contract?

  12. Over paying Drew Brees? Who in their right mind could make a statement like that when you got guys like Romo,Ryan and Flacco making $20 plus mil. a year?!?!?!?!??!?

  13. Any decent lawyer is going to hit a homerun with this specific circumstance.

    Almost a no lose case.. 70% of your snaps flexed out??? Sounds like a WR to me.

  14. Saints are 1 – 2 against SF in the last 3 so that makes you losers. Kap embarrassed them in his 2nd start ever in the dome. Your guy Brees lost a shoot out to Alex Smith in the playoffs and you won on a bogus call at home last year. Doesn’t sound too impressive. Some how we always have to come down there in the regular season. Again this year. You wouldn’t stand a chance in our house. Keep crying Aints fans.

  15. @datdude:

    You were watching the worst call of the season, in which the refs literally handed NO the game.

    If you think that Ahmad Brooks call was a good call, I literally have zero respect for your opinion, and alike, you as a man in general.

    That was a clean, textbook football hit, or should I say Sack and strip, and Brees got his clock cleaned and the ref overreacted. Period.

    Also happened to be the difference of the 49ers having homefield advantage or not throughout the playoffs.

    A Saints fan trying to talk about beating us in the regular season??? LOL. Member that catch Vernon made on you guys in the playoffs two years ago??? So do I. LOL…

  16. All you people bitching are laughable. Who cares what he or the team thinks. It is clearly stated in the CBA what he is. The amount of money and time spent getting he wording exactly right is for situations like this. It is in black and white and the saints should lose this arguement

  17. Jimmy Graham should be delighted that a team is interested enough in him to pay him the money he’ll be making, he doesn’t block anyone at anytime-not too bad for the tight end position!

  18. I’m an avid football fan but I honestly don’t know – Can a wide receiver line up in the tight end spot? And if so, are there any cases where that happens often enough that a wide receiver should be paid less on a franchise tag? And if this is a stupid question then Jimmy Graham getting paid more is equally stupid.

    Players should get paid based on their job title. If you are a tight end then you should be getting TE money. If you are a WR then you should get receiver money. If Graham wants receiver money then the team should make him a receiver. Otherwise the NFL and the NFLPA should evaluate the disparity between the two positions and adjust the valuation to a more appropriate consideration.

  19. Jimmy doesn’t come through in big games – especially the playoffs.

    We won a Superbowl without him.

    Drew relies on him too much in certain situations, which is a weakness and makes us predictable.

    I like Jimmy, but at this point, I’d rather have a couple of high-round draft picks.

    Trade him, and let someone else worry about this mess.

  20. Guy doesn’t block at all. He’s not a TE and should never be in the discussion as best TE in the game.

    Best overall TE in the game resides in Foxboro. No contest.

  21. The problem here folks is the owners wrote in the CBA that you would be tagged at whatever position you line up at the most the previous season. The reason the owners did this is because D-Ends who play in a 3-4 are considered linebackers, which would save the owners money.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Sometimes this works for the owners, sometimes it works against them.

    I’m shocked at all the backlash Graham is getting. You don’t see this kind of outrage when a team tries to be cheap and tag a guy like Suggs so you can pay him less than he’s worth as a DE.

  22. He is a wide receiver. As the Hawks proved, he doesn’t have the jam (or interest) to do the banging inside. He has great hands and can move. Put him outside and pay him that way.

  23. Whatever contract he ends up getting, the team would be well served to make sure they put a “We’re not paying you if you don’t at least get off the plane next time we play in Seattle” Clause.

    Dude disappeared.

  24. NFL should just get rid of the ‘Franchise Tag’ classification on player’s contracts. The owners use it to save money on contracts and the ‘Franchised Player’ gets screwed!!!

  25. The Seahawks showed everyone how good soft Jimmie Graham is. Not good enough. Certainly not worth more than the $7 mill he received

  26. some of you people are laughable…first off how is drew brees overpaid?? he is a top 3-5 QB making top 3-5 money. kind of makes sense, no? sam bradford, matt stafford, joe flacco, matt ryan, tony romo, kevin kolb and matt flynn are some examples of QBs being overpaid, but there’s no such thing as overpaying a guy who is going to go down as one of the best ever at his position, so just stop it. secondly, stop hating on jimmy graham for trying to get his money. he lines up more as WR than a TE, thus making the argument that he should be paid as a WR pretty strong. i’m nowhere near a Saints fan, but i think we all agree that any fan of any NFL team would consider having him on their squad for $7 mil a year an absolute steal. for the guy saying he wouldn’t be close to a top 20 WR, i say go take a look at his catches, yards and TDs the last three years. i’d be willing to bet that he would be seated very comfortably in the top 20 in all three categories compared to the leagues WRs. i don’t get why people bash guys trying to get paid in a league where you can be cut, and your contract ripped up at any time. seriously, some of you just sound stupid.

  27. Graham has been very productive for the Saints, no doubt about that.

    BUT, he’s lacking in blocking ability and he’s “new” to football having played only one season at the college level and claims to be still learning the game, which dramatically narrows the way his team can use him.

    Paying 12 million for a player who missing part of the reliable skill set you’d expect for a 29 year old player would be highway robbery.

    Let him play under the 7 mill franchise tag for one more season to see how much football he learned between last season and this one. Jimmy’s has value…just not 12 million worth.

  28. Look it’s simple. He lined up as a receiver more often than at tight end. So trade his ass. He can not compete as a receiver in the NFL. I’m a Saints fan and I will tell you he’s to soft to play receiver. The Saints were very good at creating match ups for him. Look at the big games, what did he do? NOTHING! He can’t block and when it’s time to go up and get the ball he shortens his arms cause he’s scared. He is valuable to the Saints because of how they use him. If he doesn’t want to realize that then let him go. Our offense was more productive when we spread the ball around anyway. Brees and Payton will get it done. Trade him and get a couple of possession receivers and build an O-line.

  29. This is a stupid move by the NFLPA. So they are saying a receiving TE should be paid like WR. So if a TE blocks most of the time should be paid like an OT? So what is a TE?

  30. the thing is, on how many plays do wideouts line up as tightends? never. that’s what distinguishes a tightend from a wideout. tightends can and do play off the tackle with a hand in the dirt – wide out never do.

  31. I’d be fighting for my contract too, go on Jimmy. Get paid son.
    49ers fans, just stop crying about the hit on Brees. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Trust me the NFL isn’t giving the Saint’s any breaks. The refs made the call, deal with it already. Yall are almost as bad as the vikings fans still crying about BrINT Favre getting mauled in 2009.

  32. Another non-story that will amount to nothing. The NFLPA has to file this just like we always knew they would. The goal remains the same, to sign him to a longterm deal. But they don’t have to do that right now, so their focus is on other things. that they NEED to do right now…like draft.

    As for this being based on Brees contract, total BS. Brees already publicly stated he would gladly restructure his contract if salary cap room is needed. And his contract is already seeming like peanuts compared to lesser QBs contracts like Romo and Flacco. Brees was one of the first who demanded to be paid what his agent knew would be the new norm for “elite starting QBs”. Call him greedy for that if you want. If he had settled for 60 million you’d be calling him stupid.

    Graham will get a contract worthy of his abilities. As a Saints fan, if he wants more than that, I trust our front office to move him. TE is important…but it is NOT worth 12m a year in my opinion. And I agree with the haters, Graham has played down during some crunch periods. He is still very much the best TE in the league until Gronk shows he is still Gronk. But to be paid that kind of money…you have to take over in major games and he hasn’t.

  33. Goodness gracious are niner fans still crying about that call? Ofcourse it’s a horrible rule. But that’s today’s game unfortunatly. But u don’t go high on a qb plain and simple. Kaepernick did have a good game. 2 years ago. Last year he was exposed for being a limited qb. But back on subject. Jimmy does struggle against physical play. Not a very good blocker. It’s his fifth year of ever playing football and is still learning. He had a very bad injury to have as a rout runner or football player in general and still doninated. Bad games in big games?? Well if u know the saints u know if u take Jimmy out of the game u can easily beat them. That is why a wide out is huge for them in the draft. Other than graham and colston who us slowing down they had nobody.

  34. Graham doesn’t want to be a Wide Receiver, he just wants to be paid like one. Realistically, his grievance should fail. He is not a Wide Receiver, he is just a Tight End that lines up Wide, a lot. But then again, the NFL isn’t really known for always being logical.

  35. Sounds like Graham wants to have his cake and eat it too. He should slap himself and then apologize for being greedy.

  36. Real simple argument. How many times does Graham line up on the end of the line like a normal TE? If the answer is more than 0, you are a TE. How many times does a WR line up on the end of the line? The answer is 0. They are WRs!!!

  37. Vernon Davis is the best TE in the game without question. A TE has to know how to block.. and Graham is right to want to be paid like a WR, as that is clearly the rule. “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. It is pretty clear cut. Sorry to all the Taint fans that are butt hurt.

  38. the real question is, how many actual WR’s lineup with there hand in the ground next to an offensive tackle?….. none, which is why jimmy graham is a TIGHT END

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