Saints Stunner: Jimmy Graham Traded to Seahawks
No one could have possibly seen this one coming. Just a year after locking up a long-term deal to stay with the Saints, star tight end Jimmy Graham has been traded away on the first day of free agency. Per reports, the Saints have traded Graham to the Seattle Seahawks, who will send New Orleans center Max Unger and their first round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
This move is odd for a few reasons, but it isn’t totally unexplainable. The Saints did need help at center with Jonathan Goodwin becoming a free agent, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that they will now have two first round picks in this year’s draft.
While the trade does make some sense, it still is a head scratcher given the fact that New Orleans just paid to keep Graham long-term and he’s been nothing but elite for the team. Quarterback Drew Brees can’t be too excited right about now, but the addition of the mauling Unger should assist New Orleans in being more productive in the running game. After retaining free agent running back Mark Ingram just a week ago, it seems the Saints are slowly headed toward more of a run balanced offense.
Seattle Wins Again
Instead of spending their 2015 first round (31st overall) on a wide receiver or tight end (which they sorely needed), the ‘Hawks get a guaranteed play-maker in Graham. Losing Unger could be an issue, but the reward appears to out-weigh the risk for now. Seattle also still gets a fourth round pick back in this draft, and since their first rounder was so late in the opening round anyways, it doesn’t feel like a huge loss.
New Orleans could easily sink with this one, but the foundation has been set for them to turn into a run dominant team that doesn’t rely on an aging Drew Brees so much. They also get two first round draft picks to continue to build out a defense that badly needs fresh talent.
All of that being said, it’s tough to love the Saints’ playoff odds going forward. As for Seattle, losing Unger isn’t going to cripple them, but they’ll obviously need to replace him. Now they have a legit top flight receiving weapon for Russell Wilson, though. With Marshawn Lynch extended to a new three-year pact, the Seahawks could be a problem for the entire NFC for the next three years.
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