Saints postpone media access to OTAs on Wednesday

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon (88) runs at minicamp at the Saints Training Facility in Metairie, La. Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon (88) runs at minicamp at the Saints Training Facility in Metairie, La. Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

The Saints postponed the scheduled media access for Wednesday's organized team activities practice until Thursday, according to officials.

A Saints spokesman said the team decided to do that because they had missed practice on Tuesday to play paintball near Mandeville, renewing a club tradition.

Officials made the pronouncement to about 50 reporters and photographers after they had gathered outside the indoor practice facility, where the session was unfolding. It did not appear the team's media relations staff had been informed of the decision to postpone access until that moment.

Meanwhile, as the team practices, the franchise-tag-related grievance hearing for Jimmy Graham was scheduled to enter a second day Wednesday. The hearing's reportedly being held in Metairie.

The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement specifies that hearings like that of Graham should be held in the home city of the player’s team, barring an agreement by involved parties to move it. It also says players and their agents have the right to attend such hearings.

To prevent Graham from becoming an unrestricted free agent when his contract expired in March, the Saints handed him a one-year franchise tag that is worth more than $7 million and classifies him as a tight end. But because Graham lined up as a receiver on more than two of every three plays in 2013, he filed a grievance through the league players union arguing that he should get a wideout franchise tag worth more than $12 million.

The franchise tag dispute between Graham and the Saints would end the moment he signs a new long-term deal to replace his lapsed contract.

If Graham wins his hearing, the entire $12 million amount would count against the Saints’ 2014 salary cap. New Orleans was about $1.72 million under the salary limit Tuesday counting Graham’s tight-end tag, meaning the team would have to create cap space by restructuring deals on the books, terminating players under contract or trading them.

Either side could appeal any decision that might come as a result of the hearing to a three-person panel.