If the Saints and Jimmy Graham don’t work out a long-term deal soon, Graham will have to file an appeal of the arbitration ruling on his franchise-tag status or waive the issue. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Graham’s camp believes his deadline for filing the appeal is Monday, July 14, at 4:00 p.m. ET.
The thinking is that Graham actually received the ruling on Thursday, July 3, even though the ruling was released on Wednesday, July 2. The 10-day clock expires on Sunday, July 13. Because the window closes on a Sunday, Graham has until the next day the league office is open to file the notice of appeal, pushing his deadline to 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday.
Still, why chance it? With the Saints understanding that business is business, why not start the appeal process now and avoid a potential Dumervil-style fax machine faux pas? Moreover, if a long-term deal isn’t worked out by July 15, the appeal process will be farther along than it would be if Graham waits until the last minute.
With the Saints and Graham required to get any long-term deal signed and filed by 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, it’s fair to say that one or the other will happen by Monday at 4:00 p.m. ET — Graham will sign a long-term deal, or he’ll file his appeal.
There’s a chance that both will happen, with Graham filing the appeal as a last-ditch effort to get that last concession from the team, and the Saints giving it to him once the appeal is filed.
It makes the most sense to just get the deal done now. But the Saints are taking it slowly, likely because the Saints suspect that, when push comes to shove, Graham will pounce on the offer that’s currently on the table, or something very close to it.