Contract Negotiation Headline Sports Law

Jimmy Graham’s Twitter Bio Is Irrelevant

The following guest contribution was written by Jonathan Gordon, a senior at the University of Notre Dame with plans of attending law school. The founder of Sports Analytics Blog, Jonathan invites you to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Earlier this year, the New Orleans Saints placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham. The Saints believe Graham should be compensated as a tight end ($7.07 million) because he is officially listed as a tight end. Graham and his agent, however, believe he should be compensated as a wide receiver ($12. 3 million) because of how often he played there. The two parties have proceeded to arbitration, where an arbitrator will make the final decision. For “franchise-tagging” purposes, is Graham a tight end? Or a wide receiver?

Interestingly, in his Twitter bio, Graham describes himself as a tight end.

graham pic

The media has used this to suggest that Graham’s Twitter bio could cost him millions of dollars. No, it won’t. (Or at least, it shouldn’t.)

Section 2 of Article 10 of the NFL CBA states that the nonexclusive franchise tag pays players depending on “the position at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year.” There is no mention of team meetings, jersey numbers, listed position, or Twitter bios.

The arbitration decision will eventually come down to whether or not the arbitrator believes Graham played more at the tight end position or at the wide receiver position. Graham seems to have a strong case as he lined up “either in the slot or out wide 67% of the time”.

Salaries are designed to compensate players for performance. Despite what his Twitter bio suggests, Graham performed mostly as a wide receiver. An arbitrator will soon decide if he should be compensated as one.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.