by Aaron Wilson
June 17, 02014
The grievance hearing of New Orleans Saints franchise player Jimmy Graham starts today.
The NFL Players Association is arguing that Graham should be designated as a wide receiver since he primarily lines up split outside.
The NFL Management Council is fighting that argument, saying Graham should be paid as a tight end where he's listed on the roster.
NFL special master Stephen Burbank is the arbitrator hearing the arguments.
What's at stake? Whether the Saints will pay Graham a $12.3 million wide receiver franchise tag or a $7.035 million wide receiver franchise tag.
It's possible they could split the difference and a compromise could be reached.
No long-term deal is imminent. The Saints and Graham have until July 15 to do so. Otherwise, he'll play this year under the franchise tag.
Graham lined up in the slot or split outside the hash marks 67 percent of the time last season, more than any other tight end in the NFL. According to the collective bargaining agreement, a franchise tag designation is based on the position "at which the Franchise player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Balitmore Sun