Jimmy Graham, tight end of the New Orleans Saints, is hoping to change his title. He has filed grievance through the NFL Players Association challenging that he should be considered a wide receiver for the Saints rather than a tight end.
This of course is in an effort for the playmaker to increase his paycheck from $7.05 million as a tight end to $12.3 million as a wideout per the agreement for mandatory franchise tag salary for each position.
Should Graham really be considered a wide receiver? Considering he lined up wide or in the slot (like a wide receiver typically does) two-thirds of his snaps, a strong case should be made for the 6-foot-7, 260-pound standout to be considered a wide receiver.
Each year it’s widely accepted that you never draft a tight end in the first two rounds, but Graham has been the exception. In the past three years, he’s been the second, first and first overall fantasy player among tight ends. In that period, he has added 278 points above replacement for fantasy GMs. He’s the tight end equivalent to Calvin Johnson. But if he were among Megatron’s position, his status would change significantly.
In 2011 he would be ranked as the fifth WR; 2012 as the 19th; and in 2013 he would be the fourth wideout. Those are far from shabby numbers, but his value added in a standard ten team league would drop over that three season span from 278 to 210 if slotted as a wide receiver. Meaning, he’s a viable starter but not the one he is as a tight end for fantasy GMs.
So that exception of drafting a tight end in the first or second round (being Graham) would now change, as would drafting Graham that high. He would now be considered a third to fourth round player. But many GMs would still place him at his typical draft position. So savvy owners will benefit from knowing that Graham will be overvalued and pick up a tight end like Jordan Cameron, Rob Gronkowski or Julius Thomas knowing they can get a top tier tight end and wide receivers like Graham a little later.
This is all speculation of course. If Graham were to win his case, he’d see an $5 million pay raise, but he’d see his value in fantasy football dip down a bit. Although, I don’t think he’ll mind that.