Graham hearing expected next month

METAIRIE, La. – The grievance hearing over Jimmy Graham’s franchise-tag designation is expected to be held next month, according to New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.

“I don’t know for sure when the date is. But I have a time frame, and it’s another month,” Loomis said.

Loomis declined to answer specific questions about the pending debate Saturday. But he did explain that the Saints’ side of the argument (that Graham should officially be labeled as a tight end) is handled by the NFL Management Council.

“Obviously we get consulted and talked with,” Loomis said. “But that’s the management council’s duty.”

Graham’s case (that he should be considered a receiver) will be handled by the NFL Players Association.

The two sides will first agree on a neutral third-party arbitrator to hear the case.

The NFLPA filed the grievance on Graham’s behalf earlier this week. His argument is that he should be considered a receiver since he lined up either in the slot or out wide for 67 percent of his snaps last season.

Graham was declared a tight end by the management council when he was franchised in early March, which required the Saints to offer Graham a one-year tender of $7.035 million. If Graham wins, his required tender would vault to $12.3 million -- the number for receivers.

It’s also possible that the Saints and Graham could work out a new long-term contract extension in the meantime. The deadline for franchised players to sign long-term deals with their teams is July 15.