Last week, an arbitrator ruled that Jimmy Graham should be labeled as a tight end and not a wide receiver. As Graham was franchise tagged by the New Orleans Saints earlier this off-season, the designation that he is a tight end and not a wide receiver will cost him nearly $5 million. While the Saints and Graham still have until July 15 to sign a multi-year contract, the two sides appear to be unlikely to come to an agreement. While the decision to rule Graham as a tight end may have cost him $5 million, one former tight end says the NFL discriminates against tight ends. During an interview with CBS Sports, Tony Gonzalez says the salaries for the franchise tag should be set by production and that the current method is discrimination.
“I can think of a few terms to describe what’s going on in the NFL, like ‘backward,’ ‘lack of common sense’ or ‘behind the times,'” Gonzalez wrote on CBSSports.com, “but the one that makes the most sense is ‘discrimination.’ Salaries should be set based on production and contributions, not positions.”
With more and more tight ends being used in a hybrid position where they are asked to line up with the wide receivers, this ruling could affect others in the near future. One things for sure, Graham’s production should have earned him the extra $5 million he would have earned if he was considered a wide receiver.