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NFL roundup: Saints’ Graham appeals decision

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NFL roundup: Saints’ Graham appeals decision
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NEW ORLEANS (TSX) — New Orleans Saints star Jimmy Graham appealed the league’s arbitration decision that he is a tight end for franchise tag purposes as he closed in on a new long-term deal, according to reports Monday.

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ESPN.com reported the two sides are nearing a deal that will make Graham the highest-paid tight end in NFL history.

Graham has argued that he should be considered a wide receiver.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled earlier this month that Graham is 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.

Tuesday at 3 p.m.., is the deadline for the sides to reach agreement.

A three-person appeal panel would hear the appeal. The members are Georgetown law professor James Oldham, U.S. District Court judge Richard Holwell and retired U.S. District Court judge Fern Smith.

Saints head coach Sean Payton testified at the grievance hearing that Graham should be designated as a tight end. The Saints’ position is that tight ends routinely line up in the slot and that being split out is part of playing the position. Graham lined up wide for 67 percent of his snaps in 2013, but Graham was drafted as a tight end and attended position group meetings with the Saints’ tight ends.

Graham set a new career high with 16 touchdowns last season. Through four NFL seasons, he has 301 catches for 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns, averaging 12.8 yards per reception.

Andrews to replace Oliver on FOX’s top NFL team

Fox Sports shifted Erin Andrews into the top NFL sideline reporting spot with the network’s No. 1 broadcast team that includes Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, a move that pushes Pam Oliver into a new role.

Oliver, 53, will join Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch, FOX’s No. 2 broadcast team, in what is her final season as a sideline reporter. Oliver will move into a longform feature and producing role, according to an interview she did with media critic Richard Deitsch.

Oliver also works as a reporter for Showtime’s “60 Minute Sports.”

Andrews joined FOX from ESPN last year and hosted Fox Sports 1’s college football pregame show while also working the sideline for Sunday NFL broadcasts.

Andrews, 36, is popular in part because of her crossover work on “Dancing With the Stars.”

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