NFL arbitrator Stephen Burbank has officially ruled Jimmy Graham as a tight end.
Hopefully this means the Saints and Graham can finally come up with an appropriate salary figure and get a long-term deal complete before the July 15th deadline.
Stephen Burbank is apparently a liar, because he said his ruling on the Jimmy Graham franchise tag would come no sooner and no later than Thursday. Today is Wednesday.
Mike Triplett has more on the ruling.
Although Graham lined up either in the slot or out wide on 67 percent of his snaps last year, Burbank agreed with the New Orleans Saints and the NFL Management Council, who argued that the tight end position has always involved a combination of splitting out wide to run pass routes and staying in to block -- especially in today's modern passing offenses.
Graham and the NFL Players Association can appeal the decision within 10 days to a three-member appeals panel. There is no immediate word on whether or not they plan to do so.
In the meantime, the Saints will not have to increase their one-year tender offer of $7.053 million to Graham. The receiver tender would have cost them $12.132 million.
Here is what the Twittersphere is saying:
Jimmy Graham is now tagged at $7.035 million as a tight end. Receiver number is $12.312 million.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 2, 2014
Ruling finds Graham is a tight end http://t.co/sUNrrKwlxF— WWL Radio (@WWLAMFM) July 2, 2014
Saints?src=hash">#Saints Jimmy Graham ruled a tight end, NFL Network reports http://t.co/kxksT5mBJW— Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) July 2, 2014
Stephen Burbank rules in favor of the Saints, and that Jimmy Graham is a tight end. More to come ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 2, 2014
NFL confirms that #Saints Jimmy Graham has been declared a tight end for franchise-tag purposes by arbitrator Stephen Burbank.— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) July 2, 2014
No. I think easier, actually. As long as #Saints make fair offer RT @byrdmanjunior: does this make it harder for them to get a deal done?— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) July 2, 2014