Jimmy Graham lined up in the slot on two-thirds of the snaps he played last season. (Chris Graythen/Getty)
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham's salary arbitration hearing starts today, and the $5 million question is: is he a tight end or a wide receiver?
According to NFL.com, the NFLPA will argue that Graham should be franchise tagged as a wide receiver, because that's the position he lines up at 67 percent of the time.
The NFL will argue that Graham should be tagged as a tight end because he attends tight end meetings, and because his Twitter bio reads: "New Orleans Saints Tight End #80. Private Pilot."
Last week, an anonymous NFL source explained the league's position to ESPN.com Saints beat writer Mike Triplett:
"The union's position is a naked cash grab," the source said. "It ignores Mr. Graham's use as a traditional tight end on roughly 60 percent of the snaps where he lined up within 4 yards of the tackle. It also ignores the historical use of the tight end position.
"Since the days of Mike Ditka, coaches have split the tight end wide to gain information about the defensive set and gain a matchup advantage. According to the union's position, last year's All-Pro tight end was not a tight end and Mike Ditka was a wide receiver."
BRANDT: Jimmy Graham Plays Tag
This all will get decided this week as part of the two-day arbitration process. Regardless of the outcome, Graham will end up with a whole lot more money than was in his rookie contract.
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