Graham filed the appeal hours before the Monday night deadline. A three-member appeals panel will oversee the case under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement.
Rapoport and NFL Media's Albert Breer reported that significant progress has been made in the negotiations between Graham and the Saints, per sources informed of the situation.
Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled earlier this month that Graham is indeed a tight end. Under the franchise tag for the position, Graham would make $7.053 million in 2014, compared to $12.3 million for receivers. Graham had filed a grievance arguing that he should be designated as a wide receiver because he spent more time out wide and in the slot than at the line of scrimmage.
Drew Brees' favorite target was electric (when healthy) in 2013, posting 86 catches for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has led the league in touchdowns over the previous three years combined. It would be wise for the Saints to lock up Graham long-term, but as of last week the sides were at "ground zero" in negotiations, per Rapoport.
Graham has yet to sign his tender, and the deadline for franchise players to reach long-term deals is Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. The fact that Graham filed an appeal has no effect on this deadline. In fact, Rapoport reported that both the Saints and Graham hope to reach an agreement ahead of the deadline, thus rendering the appeal "moot."