We all know that Facebook can get you into a lot of trouble with the spouse or significant other, but it isn’t likely to cost you millions of dollars. Twitter, on the other hand, shouldn’t cost you anything. That may not be the case for New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham.
Graham is at his hearing today regarding his franchise tag where is arguing that he should be paid like a wide receiver, based on the fact that he doesn’t always line up off the tackle as a traditional tight end would. In fact, he has lined split outside more often than he has on the line, which is why he is arguing for wide receiver status.
The NFL, however, is arguing that Graham is in fact a tight end, and one of their arguments is that Graham himself lists his status on “Twitter” as a TE. The NFL contends that Graham does line up as a traditional tight end and that he also participates in team meetings with the rest of the position group.
The difference between tight end and wide receiver in franchise money is considerable; about 5 million dollars, to be exact. The NFL released their franchise tag numbers prior to the NFL’s start of free agency, and tight ends who received the franchise tag would get just over $7 million for the season. Wide receivers, however, would receive $12.3 million on the year.
Graham and the Saints have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, at which time Graham can only sign a one-year deal that would put in line to be a free agent in 2015. If the presiding committee deems him a wide receiver, the Saints would have to pay him 20% over the wide receiver mark to franchise him again in 2015.
According to an article posted on ESPN back in March, Graham took 291 snaps from the in-line TE position and 586 snaps split out. He also caught more balls outside than inside, and had 12 touchdowns from the split out position and only four from the traditional TE spot.
What happens today or over the next few days, should it take that long, will have a lasting effect on NFL tight ends as more and more teams are following the spread TE formation. You can bet there are a lot of tight ends keeping a close eye on what happens with Graham’s franchise hearing.