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Saints to use franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham before Monday's deadline

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The New Orleans Saints have been dealing with contract negotiations with tight end Jimmy Graham ever since the season ended, and now it appears that a destination has been reached. ESPN's Adam Schefter announced on Twitter on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, that the Saints are planning to use the franchise tag on Graham before Monday's deadline.

As negotiations have been ongoing, reports have stated that the Saints and one of the best tight ends in the league are "millions apart."

Exact numbers have not been revealed by either the Saints or Graham's agent, but it doesn't seem like the two sides are close. With that being said, the franchise tag is where the real struggle will begin.

Schefter said:

"No great surprise, but the Saints will use their franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham before Monday’s deadline, per a league source."

Many have wondered whether Graham will be given a franchise tag as a tight end, his position, or as a wide receiver. Last season, Graham lined up as a wide receiver on almost three times as many plays as he lined up as tight end.

The issue with that is a tight end franchise tag will cost the Saints close to $8 million less than a wide receiver franchise tag would cost them.

It is almost guaranteed that Graham's agent and the NFLPA will file a grievance if he is given the franchise tag as a tight end. The Saints, on the other hand, have already said he will be given franchise tag of the position he is listed as on the roster, and that is tight end.

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