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Arbitrator rules Saints’ Graham is a tight end

Arbitrator rules Saints’ Graham is a tight end

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) prepares to stop Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud (28) during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, in Atlanta. Photo: Associated Press/AP Photo/John Bazemore

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An arbitrator has sided with the New Orleans Saints in ruling that Jimmy Graham can only be considered a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag designation.

The ruling Wednesday by Stephen Burbank is setback for Graham, agent Jimmy Sexton and the NFL Players Association, who’d filed a grievance arguing that Graham was used as a wide receiver often enough to qualify for the more lucrative receiver tag.

NFL franchise tags, which allow teams to keep one prized free agent, was set this year $7 million for tight ends and $12.3 million for receivers.

The NFLPA says it’s reviewing the ruling and will advise Graham on his options, which could include an appeal.

Graham has skipped Saints offseason practices while holding out for a new contract.

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