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Saints, TE Jimmy Graham agree to terms on multi-year contract

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Jimmy Graham sure sounds like he's staying in New Orleans. (USATSI)
Jimmy Graham is sticking around New Orleans for $10M per season. (USATSI)

More NFL offseason: Training camp dates, locations | Latest news, notes

So much for the down-to-the-wire, 11th-hour drama: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham announced on Twitter Tuesday morning, some seven hours before the deadline, that he's "bleeding black and gold this morning." A short time later, the Saints confirmed that the two sides have agreed to contract terms.

A league source tells CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora that Graham's deal is for four years and is worth $40 million, with $21 million guaranteed. Graham will get $13 million in Year 1, which allows him to avoid the franchise tag for 2015, and gives him the flexibility to hit the open market while still in his prime.

Whatever the specifics of the new contract, the bottom line is that Graham remains a Saint, and quarterback Drew Brees retains one of the most dynamic playmakers in the game.

And it was Brees, back in March, who offered Graham solid advice after going through his own last-minute contract negotiations several offseasons ago. (In fact, as CBSSports.com's Will Brinson pointed out several weeks ago, the two situations were exactly the same in that the deals were done hours before the deadline.)

"I just told him be patient," Brees said at the time. "Don't get frustrated. Don't take it personally. It's part of the deal and it's hard and ... you just want it to be over. You want certainty. That's the hardest part."

And now it's over and Graham -- and his eye-popping 2013 totals: 86 receptions for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns (good for NFL's top-rated tight end, according to Football Outsiders) -- can focus on what he does best: dominating in the passing game.

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