A final decision has been made as arbitrator Stephen Burbank officially ruled New Orleans Saints‘ superstar Jimmy Graham as a tight end Wednesday morning. The ruling was made for franchise tag purposes which means he will be paid $5.08 million less than if he would have been categorized as a wide receiver.
So what’s next for the tight end? Will he be a holdout at training camp or can a deal be reached that results in both sides being satisfied? How about a meet in the middle for a long-term contract? The $10 million range over six years would make him the highest paid tight end in the NFL by about $1.3 million over New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. That seems like a fair and realistic deal to me. It will still make him overpaid at his position, but it would be better than the $12 million he is looking for.
Regardless, the ruling went the right way. Graham was drafted as a tight end and made the Pro Bowl as a tight end. Therefore, he should be paid like one. Training camp kicks off in late July, so whether or not he decides to participate will be something to monitor. Of course, the best-case scenario would be a long-term agreement before the July 15 deadline that keeps both him and the organization happy, so the Black and Gold can get back to dominating on the football field.