Local: 503.250.1080
    Toll Free: 866.358.1080
| More
National Football League
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Saints confirm multiyear deal with Jimmy Graham

(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

By BRETT MARTEL

AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The New Orleans Saints on Tuesday confirmed a multiyear contract with Jimmy Graham, ending a protracted holdout for the star tight end.

Graham skipped all of the Saints' voluntary and mandatory practices and workouts - and challenged the NFL's franchise tag process through arbitration.

The odds of Graham leaving the Saints were slim since the club in late February placed its franchise tag on the player.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance, contending Graham was used as a wide receiver often enough to qualify for the more lucrative receiver tag, worth about $5 million a year more than the $7 million tag for a tight end.

A hearing was held in June and earlier this month. Arbitrator Stephen Burbank sided with the NFL, ruling Graham was capable of continuing to perform specific tight end duties while lined up in the slot or within 4 yards of an offensive tackle.

Once the ruling was in place, Graham had a choice of appealing or trying to reach a long-term contract by a July 15 deadline - after which he would have to play next season for his franchise tag number. A favorable ruling from Burbank would have further enhanced negotiating leverage for Graham, who last season led the Saints with 86 catches for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Graham, a former college basketball player who played one year of football at Miami, was the Saints' third-round draft choice in 2010. In his second season, Graham caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards. That total stood briefly as a yards receiving record for tight ends. That same day the mark was broken on the final day of that season by New England's Rob Gronkowski, who finished with 1,327.

Graham has led the Saints in catches the past three seasons and led them in yards receiving and touchdowns in two of the last three seasons. For the past three regular seasons, he has 270 catches for 3,507 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Updated July 15, 2014

w4 © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

The Fan's Top Stories

Raiders owner acknowledges interest in San Antonio


Like father, like son for the Raiders, as owner Mark Davis is not so subtly letting city leaders in Oakland know that if they can't get a firm deal done on a new stadium soon, he may move the club to San Antonio...More

Mariners open road trip with 5-2 W


(AP) - Iwakuma pitched seven strong innings to stay unbeaten in road games since last July, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 5-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night...More

Judge Denies Donald Sterling's Attempt to Block Sale of Clippers


(AP) Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer...More

Suh and Lions table contract talks


(AP) The Detroit Lions are postponing contract talks with All-Pro defensive tackleNdamukong Suh until after the season...More

Mo Williams finds new home in Minnesota


(AP) Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out...More

Former Ducks RB LaMichael James out for 49ers with Dislocated Elbow


Former Ducks RB LaMichael James suffered a dislocated left elbow at 49ers training camp yesterday and is expected to miss the entire preseason...More