Who says there is such a thing as a dead period during an NFL offseason?
The New Orleans Saints and Jimmy Graham stated their respective cases during a two-day grievance hearing held earlier this month. At stake, of course, is the matter of how the dynamic playmaker's franchise tag should be designated.
The Saints tagged Graham as a tight end, the position they drafted him to play. Jimmy Graham, who lined up 67% of his time on the field either out wide or in the slot, wishes to be tagged as a receiver, a move which would see him net over $5 million more than the tight end tag would pay.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank, a Law School professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has yet to release his verdict on the matter, though a source with knowledge tells Profootballtalk.com that such an announcement should be made in the coming days. Initial reports expected a decision within a week after the hearing, which took place on June 17-18 in the greater New Orleans area. However, no news emerged over the course of the last week. An announcement regarding Jimmy Graham's franchise tag designation should be coming soon.
Whichever side comes out on the losing end of the argument will almost certainly appeal, as PFT notes. That could further complicate an already hairy situation, as the Saints and Graham have only until July 15 to negotiate a long-term contract, otherwise the former Miami Hurricane Basketball player would only be able to play under a one-year pact in 2014.
“With the (July 15th) signing deadline coming up, everybody would like to get this part of it settled,” NFLPA communications director Carl Francis told the New Orleans Advocate earlier this week.
Jimmy Graham, his agent Jimmy Sexton, and the NFL's management council, which represented the Saints, have not commented on the matter. Check back soon for further updates.