New Orleans Saints All-Pro TE Jimmy Graham has been traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a 1st-round pick and C Max Unger.
San Francisco 49ers announce retirement of LB Patrick Willis
Indianapolis Colts to sign former Eagles pass rusher Trent Cole
RB Frank Gore to sign with Indianapolis Colts (and not the Eagles)
In a stunning trade reported by FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer and NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport, the Saints will trade Graham and a 4th-round draft pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange
Saints and Seattle have now agreed on trade sending jimmy graham and a 4 to Seattle for max Unger and a 1st
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 10, 2015
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 10, 2015
While the trade is shocking, the reasons behind it are blatantly obvious: The Saints were over $10 million above the salary cap going into the 2015 season and needed to shed some dollars. And with Jimmy Graham commanding the highest NFL contract for a TE in NFL history, the Saints chose to stick with QB Drew Brees over the former All-Pro.
Unger is a two-time Pro Bowlers and was an All-Pro selection in 2012. He missed 10 games in 2014, but is still in his prime at age 28, though he will be 29 by the start of the 2015 season. The Saints offensive line has struggled over the last two years, with Drew Brees being sacked for career highs of 37 and 29 times in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
With two first-round draft picks the Saints could now be in the mix for a potential trade to move into the top 10 of the 2015 draft and draft their QB of the future – Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota – a new dynamic receiver like Kevin White, or a blue chip pass rusher like Leonard Williams or Randy Gregory.