Report: NFL source calls Jimmy Graham grievance hearing 'a naked cash grab'

by Jun 10, 3:08 PM

A source within the National Football League believes New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham's upcoming grievance hearing is all about money.

Graham's hearing, set for next week, will decide whether the 27-year-old will be considered a wide receiver or a tight end for franchise tag purposes.

"The union's position is a naked cash grab," a league source told ESPN.com's Mike Triplett. "It ignores Mr. Graham's use as a 'traditional' tight end on roughly 60 percent of the snaps where he lined up within four yards of the tackle. It also ignores the historical use of the tight end position."

The contention is whether the Saints should be required to offer Graham a one-year franchise tag salary ($12.3 million) instead of $7 million.

The league source compared Graham to a legendary tight end to further the point.

"Since the days of Mike Ditka, coaches have split the tight end wide to gain information about the defensive set and gain a match-up 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."

The NFLPA believes Graham should be considered a wide receiver, a claim backed up by the fact that the two-time Pro Bowler lined up for 67 percent of his snaps either in the slot or out wide last season, per ESPN Stats and Information.

The case will likely be decided by a third-party arbitrator making a decision as to what defines lining up as a tight end.

Graham made 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, starting in 11 games and appearing in all 16 for the Saints.

Feature photo courtesy of Daniel Shirey / USA TODAY Sports