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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Its the $5 million question thats rumbling through NFL front offices and locker rooms alike: Is All-Pro Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints a tight end or a really big wide receiver? It matters to men like Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos, whos up for a big pay raise and could be facing a franchise tag himself after the upcoming season. The Saints gave Graham the franchise tag for about $7 million as a tight end, the position hes been listed at for his entire four-year career -- and which he himself lists on his Twitter account. Graham contends that because he more often is split out away from the tackle, he is really a wide receiver. And, after all, he did lead the league with 16 touchdown catches last season. That franchise tag is worth about $12.3 million. The sides stated their cases in an arbitration hearing earlier this week in Louisiana and are awaiting a ruling from arbitrator Stephen Burbank. Thomas is understandably interested in the outcome. "Ive kind of been keeping ... an eye on that situation, obviously, because it could probably come back to affect a lot of us tight ends," said Thomas, who is scheduled to make $645,000 this year. "But the way I feel about it is, Does two letters next to your name on the depth chart really determine your value to a team?" When it comes to franchise tags in the NFL, it certainly does. The Saints note that Graham made the All-Pro team and the Pro Bowl as a tight end and was drafted as a tight end. Graham points to the 86 passes he caught for 1,215 yards last season -- numbers any wide receiver would envy. "Does it matter if hes a tight end, or if he calls himself a slot receiver or a running back?" Thomas said. "I mean, if youre going to have double-digit touchdowns and contribute a bunch of yards in the receiving game, I just say that youre a guy that makes great plays and are a value to your team. So I dont know why the argument necessarily comes down to either youre a tight end or a receiver. I think that if youre a guy that makes plays, thats how you should be valued." Its because top-tier wide receivers make much more money than the games best tight ends. "Thats true. So I guess thats why its a topic," Thomas said. "But Ill say again: I think if youre a basketball player, they wouldnt say, Ah, youre a power forward. Really look out for those point guards. So I dont think that the position matters. I think if youre a guy making plays for your team, then that should be your value." Denver general manager John Elway has opened talks with representatives of both Thomas and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who are entering the final year of their respective rookie deals and would like any deal to get done by the start of training camp next month. Demaryius Thomas, who has two dozen TD catches since Peyton Mannings arrival and was the lone bright spot for Denver in the Super Bowl, figures to command around $60 million over five years after putting up back-to-back stellar seasons that vaulted him to elite wide receiver status. Yet, it was Julius Thomas who was the key to Denvers record-breaking offence last season. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound late-bloomer was a matchup nightmare for defences and the bulls-eye for many of Mannings biggest moments last season when he earned his first Pro Bowl honour. He caught the quarterbacks 51st TD throw that broke Tom Bradys single-season record, one of his dozen TD receptions that broke Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpes team record for tight ends. And he came up huge in the Broncos two wins that got them to their first Super Bowl in 15 years. Broncos coach John Fox said the tight end position has evolved over the years to the point that "its like another receiver" rather than "an offensive tackle lined up to block." Thats not to say Fox is going to dive into the debate over whether a tight end actually is a wide receiver. "Im not getting into that," Fox said with a chuckle. "Ill leave that for other people." Mason Cole Cardinals Jersey .com) - Darius Carter and Ron Baker scored 18 points apiece to help 13th-ranked Wichita State beat Evansville 61-41 on Saturday. Christian Kirk Jersey .com) - Ryan Miller made 28 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and second in as many nights as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday. http://www.thecardinalsshoponline.com/c ... ey-88/.com) - Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeVeon Bell, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil and New England Patriots punter Ryan Allen were selected as the AFCs top players for Week 14 of the NFL season. Josh Rosen Jersey .Y. -- First, Ryan Miller. Arizona Cardinals Jerseys . "This doesnt end anything," he said. "Weve got 10-1 in our last 11 games, and were going home in first place. We just have to keep playing the way we are right now.GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Instead of getting ready for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, in what would surely have been a rocking Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers quietly packed up their lockers and headed toward summer vacation. The pain and disappointment of Friday nights season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Kings was still palpable Monday as players went through exit interviews at the teams suburban practice facility, but one by one they took positive looks back on their unexpected post-season. After all, it had been 20 years since the Rangers played with the Cup on the line. "Its a little early," star goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. "I am proud of the team and what we did and how we overcame different challenges -- not only in the past couple of months but throughout the entire season. "We have a lot to be happy about, but right now youre still disappointed about not winning." Had they been able to score in overtime on Friday or in either of the first two games of the finals in Los Angeles -- which were both decided in overtime -- New York would have hosted Game 6 on Monday night. The series would have been 3-2, one way or the other, and Rangers fans would have been firmly behind their club as it moved closer to a championship. "The last two or three days have been even worse than today," forward Carl Hagelin said. "Now its kind of faded off. Its enough crying now. You cant cry much more. "It couldve been a game tonight, but were going to have to live another day." The Rangers have reached the conference finals in two of the past three seasons, and now have taken it a step further. Only a few veterans in their room, such as Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, had gotten to the finals before this run. The collective experience they now share as a group could bode well. "Its hard to swallow right now, but give it a couple of weeks," forward Derek Stepan said. "I think well look back and well see how much fun we had as a group and be able to look at it and say, Hey, we played some really good hockey. "Weve got a good balance of guys. The organization did a good job of building this team, getting the young guys andd getting the old guys.dddddddddddd Weve got a good blend." As is always the case at the end of the season, changes will be made before the team gets back together for training camp in about three months. One player who likely wont be there is Richards, who has become a prime candidate to have his contract bought out by the Rangers to give the club much needed salary cap relief. New York has one remaining amnesty buyout available, and it must be used by July 1. The cap room that would be saved by getting Richards contract off the books could go a long way to signing potential free agents the Rangers have and others who could come in from other teams. "Were going to work on putting a good team on the ice, but every year is different," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "Next years team is going to be different, and youve got to go through the same process. Its going to be a challenge to make the playoffs, and then you take it one series at a time." Richards took on a bigger leadership role after captain Ryan Callahan was traded to Tampa Bay for St. Louis in March. His voiced carried in the room even as his play declined as the playoff run got deeper. Vigneault limited his ice time to fourth-line minutes in the final two games against Los Angeles. "If you look at Brads overall season he had a real good year," Vigneault said. "In the final series, I dont know if it was a combination of some other guys might have been playing a little bit better than he was, but we had some decisions to make in Game 4 and Game 5." No decision on Richards status had been made by Monday afternoon, and he didnt speak to reporters to discuss what might lie ahead for him, either. Vigneault excelled in his first season as coach, after he replaced the fiery John Tortorella, and he will also be looking to win that elusive championship. The Rangers havent hoisted the Cup since their last finals experience in 1994. Vigneault took the Vancouver Canucks to the final step, too, only to fall to Boston in 2011. "Each year you play, your drive gets bigger and bigger," Stepan said. "This group has been close, and certainly that drive is going to be there for next year." Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys Online Stitched Jerseys Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Jerseys NFL Cheap Wholesale NFL Hoodies ' ' '


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