Jimmy Graham signs 4-year, $40 million deal with Saints

METAIRIE, La. - The New Orleans Saints and tight end Jimmy Graham have agreed to terms of a new contract.

The Pro Bowl star announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday morning, although he did not disclose any terms. The Saints also did not release contract details in a brief statement on their website.

"It's official I'm bleeding black and gold this morning!" wrote Graham. "Thank you WhoDatNation for all the support."

Reports on Monday had indicated that the sides were working toward a deal that would make Graham the highest-paid tight end in the NFL. ESPN on Tuesday said the pact would pay Graham $40 million over four years with $21 million guaranteed.

Graham and the Saints faced a deadline of Tuesday to work out a long-term deal after the club designated the four-year veteran with the franchise tag earlier this year.

There was a dispute over whether Graham should have been designated as a tight end or a wide receiver.

The NFL Players Association had filed a grievance on behalf of Graham in May, arguing that he deserved to be designated as a wide receiver because he spent more time out wide and in the slot than as a traditional tight end at the line of the scrimmage.

Under the franchise tag for the tight end position, Graham would make $7.053 million in 2014, compared to $12.3 million for receivers.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled earlier this month in favor of the team, and Graham was set to appeal that decision -- one that will no longer take place.

Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards with a career-high 16 touchdowns last season. He has 301 catches for 3,863 yards with 41 touchdowns in 62 games over his four-year career.


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