Graham case included testimony from Bill Polian, Butch Davis


As the ruling on the Jimmy Graham grievance approaches, more information is trickling out regarding last week’s arbitration hearing on the question of whether Graham is a tight end or a receiver for purposes of the franchise tag.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the cases on behalf of the NFL and NFLPA were bolstered by expert testimony from former NFL G.M. Bill Polian (pictured) and former NFL head coach Butch Davis, respectively.  Polian was an expert witness as to the position that Graham is a tight end for tag purposes; Davis testified on behalf of the position that Graham should be regarded as a receiver.

Other witnesses included, from the team’s perspective, G.M. Mickey Loomis and coach Sean Payton.  Testifying on Graham’s behalf were Graham and former Saints (current Steelers) receiver Lance Moore.

At issue is $5.3 million on a one-year deal.  The league and the team believe Graham should be tendered at $7 million for 2014.  The union and the player believe that Graham should be tendered at $12.3 million.

40 responses to “Graham case included testimony from Bill Polian, Butch Davis

  1. Good – I am pretty sure they agree a friggin’ TE is a TE – that is why he was drafted! I’ll bet if he had to BLOCK for a living – he would be singing a different tune. Listen, do not bite the hand that feeds you – period! If they are willing to do without him for money – they are willing to do without him while he is there – if that happened more frequently these guys would just play for the ridiculous money they make at their position and shut up…

  2. Rebuttal on Butch Davis testimony:

    Mr. Davis, while you were a head coach in the NFL did you or did you not think Tim Couch was a quarterback?

  3. Guess who is Butch Davis’ agent. That’s right, Sexton, Jimmy’s agent. Graham deserves to be paid as the top TE in the league. Saints have offered him 10mm per year on a multi-year deal. This whole idea about this decision being worth 5mm per season simply flies in the face of reality.

  4. Not sure about everyone else, but it seems like the Saints aren’t interested in having Graham around beyond 2014. I could see why they’d be mad about getting rid of players just to free up cap space to keep him around.

  5. If guys that get tagged truly are “franchise” players, they should be getting something like the average of the highest paid player on each team

  6. If Graham has had any incentives in his contract about making the pro bowl then the case should be cut and dry. I believe Graham would make it to the pro bowl as a receiver but there is far less competition as a te. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  7. He is in the NFC South playing prominently as a receiver. Very few plays have I EVER seen him hold a block. He GETS hit/tackled. Sean Payton probably had the little smirk on his face trying to be convincing Graham blocked. Give the man his money. Benson trying to be cheap again.

  8. Just get the deal done, 1st and foremost! I don’t blame Jimmy Graham for trying to more money with the receiver tag. But I can’t blame the NFL and Saints for trying to save money. From my understanding, Graham ALWAYS attends the TE meetings and with the WRs. Face it Jimmy, you’re a TE!

  9. Graham should win and the saints should be ashamed not trying to pay him his worth which is why that Superbowl was one and done. Way to piss off your most valuable player on offense besides Brees NO. You won’t see the big game again for a long time

  10. the case has dragged on too long. FA is over, & draft class is signed but this case still hasn’t even been heard? What if the Aints lose and this puts them over the cap? Seems like a case that should have been handled in winter not 5-6 weeks before camp begins.

  11. The problem is that there is no designated franchise for a hybrid TE/WR like Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis or Gronk, so the Saints don’t let him test the market and they get him a lot cheaper than a franchise WR.
    I sincerely hope that Jimmy wins his grievance and is permitted to earn more. He deserves it.
    And if that happens the Saints are in trouble with the salary cap this year and will have to make significant cuts to keep him.
    Good luck Jimmy. You have a very strong case. Interesting that the NFL relies on elderly Bill Polian to preserve the status quo.

  12. He may be designated as a TE, but he plays a ton of WR. He should be paid accordingly. Maybe take the difference ($5.3M) & give him the percentage he lined up at a WR. That seems fair. But if you’re gonna play a guy out of his position then you need to pay him for it. My job title is staff accountant but I often do process improvement, project management, & other things more valuable than my typical accountant duties. But they actually believe I should be paid for that.

  13. He plays as a tight end, I think he is a tight end and by all visual evidence, is a tight end. However, the language in the CBA is the rule, this can’t be changed and states he should be paid as a WR due to the locations he lines up. There should be no issue here, Graham produces like a WR and should be paid like one.

  14. If he were a WR, he’d be about the 90th best receiver in the league, and his pay would reflect that (2 million per).

  15. Like I said before, if a qb plays in the shotgun position most of his plays, then he should be franchised as a rb or fb. Jimmy Graham is a te.

  16. The saints are really endearing themselves to their most dangerous offensive weapon who can make or break their upcoming season. I’m sure seeing loomis and Payton testify against his future earnings really fires jimmy up to have his best season ever!!

  17. Graham’s constant references to himself as “The Jimmy” confuses and disorients the court

  18. It’s amazing how the NFL and the ownership of its teams never want to pay someone what they are worth when they screw up on the language in the agreement. Too bad you lose on the loophole. Simple decision if he lined up split out 2/3 of the time, if that figure is accurate, he is a WR. Pay the man as a WR.

  19. Record books, depth charts, production, etc …

    People using those arguments prove that this conflict is way too complex for them to comprehend.

  20. Anyone with 86 catches for 1215 yards with a 14.1 yards/catch average and 19 catches for more than 20 yards is most definitely not playing as a tight end. He is the team’s leading receiver by both receptions and yards, how in the hell can they try and say he is a tight end. The Saints need to stop being cheapskates and pay him like the wide receiver he is.

  21. It’s not about the team being cheap; it’s about conserving money to pay other players. They’re spending the money regardless, they just don’t want a tight end taking up an excessive piece of the proverbial pie.

  22. ——————————————
    nilla619 says:
    Jun 28, 2014 2:53 AM
    Graham should win and the saints should be ashamed not trying to pay him his worth which is why that Superbowl was one and done. Way to piss off your most valuable player on offense besides Brees NO. You won’t see the big game again for a long time

    The Saints have already offered Jimmy a long-term contract which would have made him the highest paid Tight End in NFL history. He turned it down.

    Please get your facts straight.

  23. Players should be paid for production, not position. Since he has produced stats that many receivers have not, he should be paid more than those receivers who are producing less. Simple. Assigning a contract based purely on position is such a stupid and outdated way of thinking. We live in a world where a guy who put up over 1200 yds and 16 TDs last season will make less than Percy Harvin, Dwayne Bowe, and Mike Wallace.

  24. Bountygate, Drew’s contract dispute, now Jimmy’s contract dispute. Can we please have an off season where there is no Saints’ baloney?

  25. If Graham wins, do all the other receiving TEs, even Hernandez, get some form of back-pay from the beginning of the new CBA?

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