Arbitrator Stephen Burbank’s ruling on the Jimmy Graham case will obviously cost the star tight end a significant amount of money, but it would still be best if he is able to work out a long-term deal with the Saints, writes Andrew Cohen of OverTheCap.com. While Graham will be franchised at the bargain rate of $7.035MM, going forward the franchise tag will cease to be an option.
The team was prepared to make Graham the highest paid tight end in the league, and while a second franchise tag is not completely out of the question, to franchise him for a third time would cost upwards of $20MM, the average of the top five highest paid players in the NFL, regardless of position. While Graham can hold out or try to force a trade, he has lost a good amount of leverage. His price tag might have gone down, but there is still plenty of money to make.
The ruling will effect more than just Graham and the Saints, but the ripples of this decision spread out throughout the league.
Here are some other notes from the fallout of Burbank’s ruling:
- The Burbank decision should immediately lead to two things in the NFL, writes Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com. His first point is the obvious, that the team needs to sign Graham to a long-term deal. The second is perhaps more interesting. Duncan calls for “an amendment to the Collective Bargaining Agreement defining each NFL position to avoid future disputes in free agency.” When other tight ends encounter the same problems in the future, they should be able to point to something definitive, rather than their designation on their own social media page and Burbank’s belief that a four-yard split still enables them to sit back in pass protection.
- Speaking of Twitter pages, Browns‘ star Jordan Cameron made a significant edit to his after the ruling cited Graham’s social media accounts. Cameron’s bio now reads “Pro Bowl pass catcher for the Browns.” Before today, “pass catcher” instead read “tight end,” reports John Breech of CBSSports.com. We’ll have to wait and see if Cameron’s splits start at five yards instead of four this season, as per the advice of Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter).
- Vernon Davis is another tight end looking for a new contract, although the Burbank ruling does not effect him tremendously, writes Bill Williamson of ESPN.com. Davis is under contract with the 49ers, not a free agent, and he does not dispute his status as a tight end. However, if he is dissatisfied with being the third-highest paid tight end, Williamson assumes being dropped to fourth on that list will only add to the fire.