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Dispute Concerning NFL Player Franchise Tag to be Settled in Arbitration

Tuesday, September, 15, 2015

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham’s Twitter biography dispute will be settled in an upcoming arbitration between the team and the player. The arbitration, per league policy, will be facilitated by NFL officials.


The dispute began when the team anointed Graham with the tight-end franchise tag. According to league rules, under the tag, Graham must be offered a one-year contract for an amount equal to at least the average of the top five salaries at his position over the previous year or 120% of the player’s previous year’s salary. By placing the tight-end franchise tag on Graham, the Saints committed to paying him at least $7.035 million.


Graham did not want the tag applied and filed a grievance arguing that he deserved more money. He believes he is worth the amount for players franchised at the wide receiver position, which is $12.312 million.


Graham is considered one of the best pass catching players in the league and he argues he should be considered a wide receiver because of his history of play. His cites past play history, including having lined up as a wide receiver 67% of the time in the 2014 season.


The Saints argue Graham was drafted as a tight end and was awarded a Pro Bowl position as a tight end. The team also points out that Graham’s Twitter biography lists him as the Saints’ tight end.


This is the first time in which a social media biography will play a role in an NFL grievance hearing.