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Old 07-02-2014, 11:35 AM   #1

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Ruling Jimmy Graham a Tight End is the Right Decision

Follow TDC on Twitter @3DownConversion.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Neither of us at TDC sat in on the Jimmy Graham arbitration hearings. Neither of us know for certain what was said or argued. But both of us “know” this much, and agree on this much: Jimmy Graham is a tight end and always has been one. Today an arbitrator agreed with us.

By the letter of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Graham had a solid case to say he should be paid like a receiver. Graham lined up in a “receiver position” more than he did so in a “tight end” position this past year. That’s what the Graham camp certainly wanted you (and the arbitrator) to believe, and some did.

But here’s the reality. The tight end position has changed over the years. No longer are a majority of tight ends a 4th or 5th receiving option who serve more as an extra blocker. Instead tight ends have become every bit the weapon that a receiver or running back continues to be. But regardless, that doesn’t mean someone like Graham isn’t a a tight end.

Over the course of the summer we heard about the aforementioned position splits as to where Graham lined up. But publicly, we never heard the flip side of the coin. Where do actual NFL receivers line up? Did the Saints ever line up Marques Colston with his hand on the ground? How about Lance Moore? What about elsewhere in the NFL? Did the Lions and Bengals put Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green tight to the box on numerous occasions and ask them to run a route from inside, or better yet, block? The answer, of course, is that these things rarely, if ever, happened. Those players lined up on two feet, and ran routes or blocked for running plays in the traditional receiver methods. Sure, Graham obviously did plenty of that as well, but he also contributed so much more to the Saints from in tight.

Who knows, maybe the Saints made that very argument during the hearings. Or maybe for once common sense prevailed over black and while, poorly written, non-specific jargon. But today only confirmed what TDC and many of us already knew: Jimmy Graham is a tight end.

In the end today’s ruling will cost Graham $5M+ this season, and much more in the long run, but it’s the right ruling.

Follow TDC on Twitter @3DownConversion.

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