(SportsNetwork.com) - Jimmy Graham is officially a tight end.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled Wednesday that Graham is a tight end, not a wide receiver, for franchise tag purposes.
The NFL Players Association filed a grievance on behalf of Graham in May arguing that he deserved to be designated as a wide receiver under the franchise tag because he spent more time out wide and in the slot than at the line of the scrimmage, as a traditional tight end.
The Saints will now franchise tag Graham as a tight end at just over $7 million instead of the wide receiver tag of $12.3 million. The deadline for signing long-term deals with franchised players is July 15.
Graham and the NFL Players Association can appeal the decision within 10 days.
"The NFLPA will review with Jimmy Graham the decision from Arbitrator Stephen Burbank which permits the player to be designated as a tight end for Franchise Tag purposes," the NFLPA said in a statement. "We will advise Graham of his options and carefully determine next steps in this matter. We will also continue to assist Graham and his representation as necessary to help the player reach a fair long-term deal with the New Orleans Saints."
Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards with a career-high 16 touchdowns last season. He has 301 catches for 3,863 yards with 41 touchdowns in 62 games over his four-year career.