Graham could file grievance if franchise-tagged as a tight end.
The New Orleans Saints are reportedly still ‘millions apart’ with Jimmy Graham as negotiations continue over a new deal, but remain complex.
With six days remaining until the deadline for applying the franchise tag, the Saints and their tight end are no closer to agreeing terms on a new contract, according to NFL.com.
It is understood that the current gap stands at several million dollars, and while the 27-year-old isn’t expected to leave the franchise, they are undoubtedly heading for tricky negotiations as the deadline looms.
If the Saints are to tender Graham as a tight end, it is likely that he will file a grievance under the labor deal which will argue that he is in fact a receiver given his numbers from last season.
He will be projected for 2014 at $6.8m despite his high snaps in the slot and out wide as a receiver, when he could receive wideout money that would be projected at $11.6m.
Should New Orleans lose, Graham will then likely argue that the Saints shouldn’t be permitted to re-issue the tender at the much higher receiver amount, since the deadline using the franchise tender would have already passed.
As a result, the situation could result in Graham becoming an unrestricted free agent which would allow him to sign with any team of his choosing with the Saints receiving no compensation in return.
While the player himself doesn’t believe that he is a tight end, and in turn shouldn’t be paid as one, if the two parties are unable to agree a deal before March 3, then an unwanted battle may well follow.