IN PHOTOS:

Saints confirm multiyear deal with Jimmy Graham

The Associated Press
Saints confirm multiyear deal with Jimmy Graham
.

View photo

FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2013 file photo, New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) tries to get past Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud (28) during the second half of an NFL football game in Atlanta. The Saints have confirmed a multiyear contract with star tight end Jimmy Graham. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (37)
  • Weekend Sports In Brief

    Arnold Palmer brought a country club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. Alastair Johnston, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 42 seconds ago
  • Juve lose Rugani, Asamoah for 45 days

    Juve lose Rugani, Asamoah for 45 days

    (Reuters) - Juventus defender Daniele Rugani and midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah are expected to be out of action for more than seven weeks after suffering right knee injuries in the 1-0 win over Palermo on Saturday. Scans revealed that Ghanaian Asamoah … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Man City's Sterling credits Guardiola for rise in form

    Man City's Sterling credits Guardiola for rise in form

    (Reuters) - Raheem Sterling has hailed Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola for helping him turn around his year, in particular for encouraging the winger to "enjoy scoring goals". Sterling found the back of the net only six times in 31 Premier … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Liverpool's depth pushing players to perform - Milner

    Liverpool's depth pushing players to perform - Milner

    (Reuters) - Liverpool's strength in depth has driven the players to push harder for first-team places in the knowledge that manager Juergen Klopp will not hesitate to drop underperformers, according to James Milner. Milner, who has been deployed in … More »

    Reuters - 16 minutes ago
  • Siemian shows that Broncos have all they need in 29-17 win

    Siemian shows that Broncos have all they need in 29-17 win

    The Broncos' defense was back in force, led by Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. The offense has gifted receivers with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Could they even come close to replacing Peyton Manning? … More »

    AP - Sports - 22 minutes ago