NFL Arbitrator Tells Jimmy Graham What He Really Is
No sport is as overspecialized as the NFL.
It's now official: Where you line up determines what you get paid.
Position isn't the point. It's positioning.
Back in the day, when football players had more freedom to create, if you wanted to be the piece of glass, you could be the piece of glass.
Now, voices come from inside helmets, play stops interminably so freeze frames can make the gamblers happy, and contract negotiations involve field maps.
That's how Jimmy Graham knows he's a tight end.
To paraphrase Denny Green, Graham isn't who he thought he was.
All those points he's scoring are well and good, but they're about where he ended up. Apparently, the key is where he's starting.
Gotta love the language. Sounds like Les Miles on a roll:
|In sum, I conclude that Mr Graham was at the position of tight end for purposes of Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) when, at the snap, he was aligned adjacent to or 'arm's-length' from the nearest offensive lineman and also when he was aligned in the slot, at least if such alignment brought him within four yards of such lineman ...|
And Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) is costing Mr Graham around $5million this season. Bet he never saw that one coming in football camp.
Like any good group of bean counters, the NFL's green visors have devised an actuarial table for each position. That's so artibtration cases can have a set of parameters for contract negotiations. Understandable. But shouldn't the focus be on a player's performance, regardless of his starting point on the field?
On the side, exactly how does a position that actively involves blocking as much as receiving rank so much lower on the pay scale than the track-star wideouts who may as well wear bubble-wrap instead of pads for most of the game?
So for now, Graham is a tight end, but in good NFL tradition, this decision will be under
further review appeal within the next ten days.
Which is about as long as the refs take on the field, no matter where they stand.