An NFL arbitrator made a landmark ruling Wednesday, saying the New Orleans Saints can pay Jimmy Graham as a tight end under the franchise tag rules and not as a wide receiver.
How will this affect Vernon Davis?
It won't very much, I believe. Davis, the 49ers' star tight end, is holding out because he wants a new deal. I didn't think the Graham case would have any bearing on the 49ers' dealings with Davis regardless of the ruling on the grievance. Had the arbitrator ruled that Graham could be paid like a receiver, that likely wouldn't have had an effect on Davis, either.
Davis lines up as a tight end more than he does as a receiver and he has freely admitted he is tight end. Graham will get paid. He very well could soon get a long-term deal that makes him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
That would make Davis the fourth-highest paid tight end. Sure, that could add to his angst. After all, he is dissatisfied being the third-highest paid at his position.
But the bottom line is the 49ers don’t seem inclined to give Davis, 30, a new deal right now. The development in New Orleans doesn't change anything in San Francisco.