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Date Set For Graham Grievance Hearing


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Report: Date set for Graham grievance hearing

Posted by Mike Florio on May 13, 2014, 9:42 AM EDT

While the NFL has become a 12-month-per-year source of news, a few dead spots have emerged on the calendar. One of them will be filled this year with plenty of intrigue regarding Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.

According to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, the hearing on Graham’s franchise-tag grievance has been set for June 17-18. At that time, an arbitrator will consider evidence and arguments both for and against the notion that Graham is a receiver, not a tight end, for purposes of the franchise tag.

A ruling should come fairly quickly, since the issue is straightforward. Under the CBA, a player gets tagged at the position where he participated in the most snaps in the prior year. For Graham, the ultimate question becomes whether his snaps taken in the slot count as snaps taken as a tight end or as a receiver.

The Saints and the league will argue that tight ends routinely move around to other spots, but that tight ends are the only players who line up on a consistent basis next to the left or right tackle. Graham and the NFLPA will contend that the relevant language of the labor deal should be applied as written, and that when Graham lines up in the slot, he’s a receiver not a tight end.

The ruling will be subject to appeal to a three-person panel. A compromise is possible at any time, and a final ruling would be preferred by July 15, the deadline for signing Graham to a multi-year deal.

With more than $5 million in 2014 franchise-tag salary hinging on the outcome, the total difference in dollars over a four-year or five-year deal easily could be more than $20 million.

Meanwhile, any other team (except the Bills, who traded their 2015 first-round pick to Cleveland) can sign Graham to an offer sheet. If the Saints don’t match, they’ll get a first-round pick in 2015 and 2016 from Graham’s new team.

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Do Saints have enough to match another teams offer? I guess it depends on which team - but I thought Forio's take on how Buffalo could have got him instead of trading up for Sammy was interesting.

I think there is somewhere around a 1% chance that Graham is not a Saint come TC

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I think there's zero chance he plays anywhere else in 2014.

I believe the Saints could and would match up to 10 or so. What I don't see is any team willing to give up two first rounders to give a mega contract for any position other than franchise QB.

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Do Saints have enough to match another teams offer? I guess it depends on which team - but I thought Forio's take on how Buffalo could have got him instead of trading up for Sammy was interesting.

I think there is somewhere around a 1% chance that Graham is not a Saint come TC

Lol I think you're reading to much into it. It said buffalo doesn't have a first rounder so they can't make an offer

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They already have $7.5m in cap wrapped up in him. I can't imagine any deal where his cap hit tops that. At least not realistically and on top of that giving up two first.

Really? The saints would pay more than that if they have to. They just don't want to.

The way Smith loves TE`s like Tony G. I could see the falcons making a play for him. They used to pay tony a lot of money also. our first rounder next year will be a last round pick almost a second pick anyways. So the 30th pick in the first round wont kill us to lose.

Bring`em home TD!!!!!!! 8.5 mill

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Really? The saints would pay more than that if they have to. They just don't want to.

The way Smith loves TE`s like Tony G. I could see the falcons making a play for him. They used to pay tony a lot of money also. our first rounder next year will be a last round pick almost a second pick anyways. So the 30th pick in the first round wont kill us to lose.

Bring`em home TD!!!!!!! 8.5 mill

Yeah, wait on that BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Really? The saints would pay more than that if they have to. They just don't want to.

The way Smith loves TE`s like Tony G. I could see the falcons making a play for him. They used to pay tony a lot of money also. our first rounder next year will be a last round pick almost a second pick anyways. So the 30th pick in the first round wont kill us to lose.

Bring`em home TD!!!!!!! 8.5 mill

Saints original offer was $10 mil a year...but Graham's agent wanted to hold out for 12...Graham got tagged as a TE at 7.5...goes to arbitration...arbitrator will probably split the difference at about 10 mil.

So they go through all of this crap just to get back to the original offer.

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Saints original offer was $10 mil a year...but Graham's agent wanted to hold out for 12...Graham got tagged as a TE at 7.5...goes to arbitration...arbitrator will probably split the difference at about 10 mil.

So they go through all of this crap just to get back to the original offer.

The arbitrator would have to rule WR tag or TE tag; I don't think it's his/her place to 'split the difference'.

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Really? The saints would pay more than that if they have to. They just don't want to.

The way Smith loves TE`s like Tony G. I could see the falcons making a play for him. They used to pay tony a lot of money also. our first rounder next year will be a last round pick almost a second pick anyways. So the 30th pick in the first round wont kill us to lose.

Bring`em home TD!!!!!!! 8.5 mill

Smith loves complete TEs. Tony G was complete.. In his elder state(football years) he wasn't on par with Graham's receiving skill, but Tony G was much more physical. He didn't have a problem pushing defenders off him or still making the circus catch time and time again, with a defender physically beating on him.

Graham is worthy of being the highest paid TE, he is dam good for the Saints, but I can't see him replacing what Tony G did for the Falcons. Just two different beasts.

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