The New Orleans Saints have traded All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for center Max Unger and a 1st-round pick.
The trade was later confirmed by Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer:
Here is what you need to know:
1. The Seattle Seahawks Needed Help on Offense
With the losses of Golden Tate and Percy Harvin in the last two seasons, the Seahawks needed a boost on offense in addition to Russell wilson and Marshawn Lynch.
2. The New Orleans Saints Are in the Middle of Retooling Their Team
simply put: the New Orleans Saints were in cap hell. They also weren’t a good team in 2014, so they needed to make some seriously difficult roster moves to better set this team up into the future.
Players like Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jahri Evans and Cameron Jordan have become staples, but expensive staples. The salaries of the team’s best players at the top were hindering their ability to sign free agents and sign their draft picks. Losing Graham was a difficult decision, but the team figured tight end was the least valuable of their core’s star positions.
Graham Signed an Extension Before Last Season
Graham signed a four-year, $40 million extension before the beginning of last season.
His base salary this season is just $2.9 million, but his cap hit is $8 million. Both of those figures go up in the final two years of the deal.
4. The Saints Cleared $2 million in Cap Space With This Move
Which means… the organization now has — as of right now — less than $5 million in cap space total even after the trade.
5. The Seahawks Tried a Move Like This Once Before
In 2013, the Seahawks traded a 1st-round, 3rd-round and 6th-round draft pick to acquire then disgruntled Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin had baggage — his concussion and on-field demeanor issues. Despite this, the do-it-all gadget player helped the Seahawks blow out the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.
Harvin was traded to the Jets in November. Although Harvin was productive, he didn’t produce enough for Seattle to justify the price tag he was given. The Seahawks hope that a legitimate All-Pro — like rob Gronkowski for the New England Patriots — can help validate their decision to send a great cost-controlled center in Max Unger in return.