Saints coach Sean Payton testifies against Jimmy Graham at grievance hearing

In a breaking and somewhat shocking item in the world of Saints news today, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton reportedly testified against tight end* Jimmy Graham at Graham's contract grievance hearing - potentially costing Graham around $5.3 million.

Here's Mike Florio on what is becoming a very interesting and awkward situation in New Orleans:

Per multiple sources, the case against Graham’s position that he should be treated as a receiver for franchise tag purposes included testimony from coach Sean Payton.


The specifics aren’t known, but the gist of the testimony was that Graham is a tight end, not a receiver.  The consequence, if Payton’s testimony is accepted, will be $5.3 million less in 2014 earnings for Graham.

Per the NFL and the Saints organization, lining a tight end up in the slot does not alter a player's role as a tight end. Graham's contention is that he only lined up in a traditional tight end formation for 33 percent of his active snaps in 2013 - blurring his role into a hybrid version of a receiver.

At the current time, a ruling from the arbitrator in charge of the hearing is expected sometime next week. If that is the case, the Saints and Graham might be unable to come to terms on a long-term extension before the cutoff date of July 15th.


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