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The Jimmy Graham franchise tag saga is over.

Graham announced early Tuesday on Twitter he has agreed to terms on a contract extension with the New Orleans Saints.

Tuesday was the deadline for NFL players bearing the one-year franchise tag to sign contracts extending beyond this season.

Greg Bensel, the Saints' senior vice president of communications/broadcasting, confirmed the "multi-year deal."

Terms of the contract weren't immediately available, but it was expected to make Graham the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. ESPN reported the deal was for four years and $40 million with $21 million guaranteed. However the full numbers aren't available, and those will provide a more complete picture of how it's structured.

The deal had been close since Monday afternoon, a person with knowledge of negotiations told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

The sides had until 4 p.m. ET to strike a deal or else Graham would've had to play under the $7.035 million franchise tag for tight ends – not the $12.312 million tag for receivers after Graham lost in arbitration.

The NFL Players Association appealed the arbitrator's decision Monday, but that was a procedural move to protect Graham's rights in case talks fell apart.

They didn't, and now the Saints have their top offensive playmaker locked up for the long haul.

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Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero

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