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Arbitrator Declares Jimmy Graham a Tight End, Causing Jordan Cameron to Change His Twitter Bio
When you look at the big picture, the NFL’s “franchise tag” system is good for the league and the fans. By giving teams this tool to basically block free agency, teams and fans in smaller markets don’t have to watch their star players continually get poached by teams in larger markets with deeper pockets.
From the players’ perspective, however, the system sucks. They are often prevented from earning the money they are actually worth. And in the case of a player in his prime, this can cost him millions of dollars he’ll never get the chance to earn again.
Such is the case with Jimmy Graham in New Orleans. When the Saints placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on their star tight end back in February, the guy knew he was going to get screwed out of money he could have earned as a free agent. The salary of a franchise tight end is just $7.053 million per season, but Graham is an All-Pro tight end with 1,200 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He would have easily made $9-$11 million.
For this reason, Graham requested that he be considered a wide receiver instead of a tight end for franchise tag purposes. Franchise wide receivers get $12.312 million per season, and his offensive production is more in line with that of a wide receiver. Moreover, Graham lined up out wide for 67% of his snaps last season, whereas the average tight end lined up wide for only 28% of his snaps.
Unfortunately for Graham, arbitrator Stephen Burbank wasn’t having it. He sided with the Saints and ruled that Graham was a tight end, ultimately basing his differentiation of tights ends from wide receivers on how the players are defended…which kind of makes sense.
That being said, the Saints and the NFL had argued, among other things, that Graham should be categorized as a tight end because he called himself a tight end on Twitter. And with the ruling against Graham, some people couldn’t help but wonder if that factored in.
One of those people? Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron. Upon hearing the news, he changed his Twitter profile so as not to label himself out of $5 million in salary down the road.
The change was first noticed by ESPN’s Darren Rovell, who apparently just spends his free time checking out social media bios of NFL players looking for scoops.
But hell, why stop at “pass catcher”? I say label yourself a quarterback. See what happens.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]