This is a portion of this article (which I found only after seeing a rumor about this yesterday on some other random site)...and without a 1st round pick we are running out of stuff to talk about.
Now the reason I bring this up: obviously this could happen more IMO with Fleener being the weaker blocker and more apt to split out in 2 TE sets than with Allen who I see as a cut and dry TE. I've seen people saying Graham lines up more off the line (as a slot WR mostly, but I'm not sure if that includes as a FB if he ever went in the backfield) than he did on the line, but our defensive scheme is littered with combo players who could be an issue in this same way in looking at the franchise tag and even awards going forward.For a tight end, that would be around $6.8 million. But a wide receiver would get a contract of about $11.6 million.
That could mean a big difference in pay for Graham, whose agent Jimmy Sexton is expected to file a grievance through the NFLPA. Graham's camp will contend that he should be tagged as a wide receiver because he lined up in the slot or out wide for 67 percent of his snaps in 2013.
The Saints will counter he should be tagged as a tight end.
"That's where we drafted him, that's where we play him," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said at the Senior Bowl. "In our view he's a tight end. That's what makes him valuable."
A neutral arbitrator would hear the case if it got to that point, which is something that has been considered in the past but never actually happened. Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs contended he was a defensive end in 2008, but a deal was worked out. St. Louis Rams' tight end Jared Cook, then with the Tennessee Titans, wanted to be tagged as a wide receiver last season, but the team let him walk in free agency instead of tagging him and going through a contract fight.
Obviously we have the DE/OLB situation which absolutely should have been looked at long ago for all pro/pro bowl teams as well as the franchise tags....but also our entire DL doesn't match what the tag numbers are, along with every other 3-4 and "hybrid" defense...which in its name almost states it isn't going to work with positional norms.
Just for example Corey Redding who is listed as a DE would have to be given the same franchise tag as Robert Quinn or Jarred Allen....Robert Mathis listed as an OLB and tagged as such would be in the same LB group as tackle machines Burfuct/Posluzinsky/Keuchely since there is no tag to differentiate between an OLB and a MLB in the tag....and also a DE/OLB pass rushing hybrid from a 4-3 more traditional OLB who may or may not blitz occasionally, defends the TE in pass coverage, and sets the edge. It is obvious to anyone that has any interest in football that Mathis and Quinn are doing the same job from different named positions....while Redding is always going to be producing more like a DT in a 4-3 scheme. I'm not even sure what they do in the situation where a guy is technically playing the end in a 3-4 but on the side with the JACK OLB so they call him a DT because he will be the one kicking down if they go to a 4-3 look....Francois or Moala would be our guys here.
I think they need to seriously look at this...I don't think many issues have been as serious as Graham who is one of the best TEs in the game....but when do you stop calling a TE a TE and start using things like TE/WR?
I'm just curious if anyone else is worried about this and if anyone has any idea how they could fix it? My thought is for the TE/WR...if you are not on the line a certain percentage of snaps then you could be tagged as a hybrid and use the average of both TE and WR in the formula and pay them somewhere in the middle....They could also use a tiered level where they use the above and call them a hybrid...but also have a 2nd tier where if they are not in a TE position at the snap for a higher percentage then they are a WR...or use blocking vs running a route in a similar way.
Similar for DE/OLB....maybe they could use blitzing as the benchmark in pass plays. Then it gets complicated with trying to sort out the DE/DT difference between a 3-4 and a 4-3...maybe take out the pass rushers some way since that is what is inflating the DE contracts to the number under QBs and DTs are in the middle of the pack in price....there are also 3 or 4 LBs on each team to drive the pass rushing LB down and hence why they are more balanced and not inflated like DEs when figuring the tag, but it also takes the price up for MLB and non pass rushing OLBs.
All I know is that with more hybrid defenses and with players moving around on offense everywhere when does the NFL start asking if a RB or TE that leads his team in receptions and is tagged should he have to take the lesser RB or TE tag $ or should he be moved to the higher WR tag number no matter where he lines up? Also questions should come up about things like should a TE that is never asked to block on any passing play and spends more time in the slot than on the line take an all pro/pro bowl spot away from a traditional TE because of his inflated numbers and the way he is being used? I'm curious if anyone else has any thoughts on this....or if you all think the current position system is fine.