Brees on Graham’s position: ‘He’s a hybrid’

Updated: March 22, 2014, 8:51 AM ET

ESPN.com news services

Drew Brees weighed in again on whether Jimmy Graham is a tight end or a wide receiver — a topic that has become one of the New Orleans Saints’ biggest offseason issues.
But Brees did not fall on either side of the debate this time, taking a more diplomatic approach when evaluating Graham’s position in a recent interview with the NFL Network.

“He’s a hybrid,” Brees told the NFL Network during the interview, which took place Thursday night.
Brees’ statement differed from his remarks earlier this offseason. In an interview with NBC Sports Radio in January, Brees described Graham as a tight end on multiple occasions.
The Saints placed their franchise tag on Graham earlier this month, tendering a $7.04 million offer to the two-time Pro Bowler. Barring a holdout, Graham will play the 2014 season under the distinction of tight end rather than wide receiver.
The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Graham repeatedly has lobbied to be designated as a wide receiver, a position that carries a $12.3 million franchise tag.
The Saints have remained adamant throughut the process that Graham is a tight end, but Brees doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
“He’s re-writing the requirements of the person at that position,” Brees told the NFL Network. “Any guy like him that’s drafted in the future — the bar is Jimmy Graham.”
Graham and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, likely will file a grievance through the players’ association, asking that Graham be considered a receiver because he lined up out wide or in the slot on 67 percent of his snaps last season.
It’s a significant distinction, and a favorable ruling would give one side serious leverage in long-term contract negotiations.
Graham and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, likely will file a grievance through the players’ association, asking that the 27-year-old be considered a receiver because he lined up out wide or in the slot on 67 percent of his snaps last season.
It’s a significant distinction, and a favorable ruling would give one side serious leverage in long-term contract negotiations.
Graham had 86 catches for 1,215 yards and a league-leading 16 touchdowns last season, his fourth with the Saints.
ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett contributed to this report.

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