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Deadline nears for Saints to sign Jimmy Graham

The clock is ticking on Jimmy Graham.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport noted Monday that the New Orleans Saints have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to sign their All-Pro tight end to a long-term contract.

If the sides don't hammer out a deal in time, Graham has the option to either play out the year under his $7.053 million franchise tag or sit out the season.

Rapoport noted earlier this month that talks started at "ground zero" following arbitrator Stephen Burbank's ruling that Graham is indeed a tight end after the pass-catcher lobbied to be tagged -- for much more moola -- as a wide receiver.

Rapoport also reported that Graham has until midnight to file an appeal on the ruling, per a league source.

We still expect the sides to reach a lucrative long-term pact that will make Graham the highest-paid player at his position.

There's hope from both sides that Tuesday's deadline will spur action, but until that happens, Graham's status with the Saints remains in flux.

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