As you’re aware, the New Orleans Saints and their tight end/wide receiver/whatever the hell he is Jimmy Graham have been at odds over the franchise tag for the all-pro pass catcher. The Saints refer to Graham as a tight end. Graham and more importantly his agent, believe he should be tagged as a wide receiver. Big deal right?
Well, it is a big deal financially for both sides. Should Graham’s tag remain at the tight end number he’ll make significantly less than he would if he were tagged at the wide receiver position. Both teams have had viable arguments but now the decision is in the hands of an arbitrator who might just use a Twitter background as his final justification.
First, he are the financial details. Should he remain tagged as a tight end, Graham will be owed $7 million dollars from the Saints. Should he get his wish and be tagged as a wide receiver, then he would be owed over $12 million dollars. The massive difference is important for the Saints in terms of salary cap issues while the difference is important for Graham because should he not negotiate a long-term deal with the Saints, he could get that much more money on the open market.
It’s believed the arbitrator will take about a week to make a decision and the timing is crucial. Graham and the Saints have only until July 15th to come to a deal for a long-term contract or else he plays the season on the one year deal. Following the season he would then become a free agent and the sky would be the limit.
Obviously the Saints don’t want it to get to that point. The Twitter background I referred to earlier was that of Jimmy Graham himself. On his background, his biography refers to him as a ‘tight end.’ That argument, silly as it sounds will hold merit.
Where the Saints are in trouble is that their argument that he’s a tight end doesn’t wash. ESPN reports that Graham lined up either wide or in the slot a combined 70% of the time. This means he only lined up as a traditional tight end 30% of the time.
My gut feeling is that Graham is going to lose this round but his case will open doors for future situations where position titles will be more specifically defined. This will help both players and teams when the transition or franchise tags are used.
The Redskins Take a Hit
The United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled yesterday that the six previous versions of the term “Redskins” which were held from 1967 to 1990, are no longer protected trademarks. This does not, and I repeat, this does not mean the Washington Redskins will be forced to change their name.
According to the USPTO, the current Redskins’ logo is remains the property of the team and is unaffected by the ruling. The major impact could be felt in the long-term as the team begins to lose the ability to protect itself in the future. Owner Daniel Snyder and the Redskins have appealed and it is likely this will take several years.
Regardless of one’s thinking on this issue, it bothers me greatly that once again that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is letting others, in this case the government, do his dirty work for him. Goodell has remained very quiet and non-committal about the issue and this reeks of his MO in other situations. Rather than tackle it himself in unison with league owners, he has allowed the USPTO to ramp up the pressure.
This is yet another pathetic showing by a Commissioner who has lost touch with reality.