NFL sets Graham's franchise tag value at $7.05 million

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) catches a pass for a touchdown against Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) catches a pass for a touchdown against Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.

The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.

The designation was released Monday after the deadline passed for NFL teams to use franchise or transition tags on players becoming free agents.

Because Graham often split out from the offensive line as a receiver would, there have been questions concerning whether the NFL's collective bargaining agreement calls for Graham to have a receiver's tag, worth $12.1 million. Graham still could file a grievance, leaving an arbitrator to decide which tag is appropriate.

Graham caught a team-leading 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.