Jimmy Graham is a tight end. WWL Saints Sideline reporter Kristian Garic has confirmed that Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has ruled that the Saints player is not a wide receiver.
It means that if the Saints and Graham do not work out a long-term deal, the team will have to pay him $7 million dollars under the franchise tag as a tight end instead of $12.3 million he would have been paid as a wide receiver.
READ MORE: Complete text of Burbank's Jimmy Graham ruling
In the ruling Burbank found that for a majority of the plays Graham lined up near the offensive line (where a tight end stands - not a wide receiver), was listed on the roster as a tight end, participated in practice and meetings with the tight end group and coaching staff, and Graham identified himself as a tight end in social media.
WWL's Bobby Hebert says the ruling is good for the Saints, but he doesn't expect it will keep the sides from coming together.
"I would be shocked if they don't get a long-term deal done by the deadline of July 15th," Hebert said. "I believe Graham will be the highest paid tight end."
How much does he think Graham will make under multi-year contract deal?
"Around $10 million with $20 million to $25 million guaranteed... maybe six years, $63 million," the Cajun Cannon said.
Hebert was expecting the arbitrator to rule Graham was a hybrid player and spilt the difference.
Graham can appeal the decision to a three person panel.
READ MORE: Steve: Graham's a TE, but what happens next?
The NFL Players Association released the following:
"The NFLPA will review with Jimmy Graham the decision from Arbitrator Stephen Burbank which permits the player to be designated as a tight end for Franchise Tag purposes. We will advise Graham of his options and carefully determine next steps in this matter. "We will also continue to assist Graham and his representation as necessary to help the player reach a fair long-term deal with the New Orleans Saints."
Photo by Chris Bennett