NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Defensive end Charles Grant agreed Thursday on a seven-year contract extension with the New Orleans Saints, who disappointed Grant by designating him a franchise player.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis confirmed the agreement Thursday afternoon, but did not discuss financial terms.
The franchise tag allows a team to keep a free agent for one season at a salary based on the average of the top five salaries in the league for the same position. In Grant's case, that was about $8.6 million for the upcoming season.
Grant, however, said he wanted a long-term deal and said the Saints should have allowed him to test the market if they weren't willing to give him more than a one-year extension.
Grant has played five seasons in New Orleans since being drafted in the first round, 25th overall, out of Georgia. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman has 298 tackles, 36 sacks and 15 forced fumbles.
He played in all 16 regular-season games in 2006 and was in on 64 tackles, including six sacks. His best season was 2004, when he made or assisted on 78 tackles, with 10 1/2 sacks.
The new deal locks in what has been a formidable starting tandem of defensive ends in New Orleans for at least three more seasons. Pro Bowl end Will Smith, the Saints' first-round draft choice in 2004, is under contract for three more seasons.
Last season, the pair combined for 16 1/2 sacks.

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