In exactly one week, New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham will have his grievance hearing begin in which it will be determined whether he is a tight end or a wide receiver. On June 10, 2014, ESPN reported that a strong counterargument is coming from the NFL against the NFLPA, and the union is doing this grievance strictly as a "cash grab."
This grievance is to determine whether Graham is a tight end or wide receiver for franchise tag purposes and how much he will get paid.
Should Graham be determined to be a tight end, the New Orleans Saints would be required to offer him a one-year franchise-tag salary worth $7.035 million. If he is determined to be a wide receiver, the Saints would offer him a one-year of $12.3 million.
"The union's position is a naked cash grab," the source said. "It ignores Mr. Graham's use as a traditional tight end on roughly 60 percent of the snaps where he lined up within 4 yards of the tackle. It also ignores the historical use of the tight end position.
"Since the days of Mike Ditka, coaches have split the tight end wide to gain information about the defensive set and gain a matchup advantage. According to the union's position, last year's All-Pro tight end was not a tight end and Mike Ditka was a wide receiver."
In 2013, Graham lined up at wide receiver (in the slot or out wide) for 67 percent of his snaps with the Saints. This will be the main argument by the NFLPA when the grievance gets underway next week.
The NFL will begin its counterargument by shooting back what the collective bargaining agreement states of a franchise-tag designation is based on the position "at which the Franchise player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year."
The NFL and NFLPA will have a neutral third-party arbitrator for the hearing. That arbitrator will get info from both sides and make the ultimate determination of what constitutes a tight end in the league.
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