Jimmy Graham wide receiver? Free agent plans on filing grievance if Saints franchise tag him as tight end

The New Orleans Saints are likely hoping they'll be able to count Jimmy Graham as a member of the team next season, but if Graham has it his way it will cost the franchise far more money.

Graham is expected to receive the franchise tag from the Saints, which would pay him the average salary among the top five players at his position. Graham is nominally a tight end, which would mean New Orleans owes him $7.9 million. Graham, however, is making noise about wanting to be franchise tagged as a wide receiver, which would pay him about $16.8 million.

Any fantasy football player will say that Graham is a tight end, but franchise tags are decided on what percentage of plays an individual player lined up at a position. This would make Graham's case as a wide receiver rather strong; he lined up as a wide receiver on 67 percent of his snaps and caught 68 passes in that role.

NFL.com's Ian Rappaport tweeted the following message regarding the subject: "No progress yet for Jimmy Graham and #Saints. If, as expected, he's tagged as a TE, expect an immediate grievance to be tagged as a WR."

The issue could mean a great deal for the Saints, who don't necessarily have the greatest salary cap situation in the league; in fact Overthecap.com projects them to currently be at $12 million over the salary cap without either of Graham's franchise numbers counting towards the estimation.

Aside from quarterback Drew Brees, Graham is the most important player on the team. His size, speed and catching ability set him apart from just about all other receiving options in the NFL, and his ability to line up on the line of scrimmage or out wide make the Saints offense nearly impossible to game plan for.

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