The Seahawks have finalized a trade with the New Orleans Saints that brings tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth round pick to Seattle in exchange for Max Unger and Seattle's first round pick. Jay Glazer got the scoop.
Obviously, Seattle loses their first round pick this season in exchange for the 28-year old Graham, who caught 80 passes for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Graham is due to count $8 million against the cap in 2015, $9 million in 2014, and $10 million in 2017. With Unger heading to New Orleans, he takes a $3.4M cap hit with him, and the release of Zach Miller and his $3.4M cap hit make Graham's addition doable for Seattle, cap wise.
Graham has averaged 88.75 catches for 1,099 yards and 11.5 touchdowns per year over the past four seasons, is among the elite of the elite at the tight end position, and is 28 years old. The Seahawks obviously went out looking for a top playmaker for their young franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson and they got one in Graham, albeit at a heavy cost. Like the Percy Harvin trade of a couple of seasons ago, the Seahawks evidently felt that they could not get a player of Graham's caliber at the 31st spot in the draft and that made a trade like this attractive. Graham is a top touchdown maker in this league with 46 in four years, which comes in behind only Marshawn Lynch and Dez Bryant over that time period. While he's listed as a tight end, he's a de facto receiver, and he's now Seattle's number one target.
With Graham's addition comes a hole at the center position, so look for Seattle to make some changes at that spot in the coming weeks. Right now, the team has Patrick Lewis as the primary backup there, but may re-sign Lemuel Jeanpierre or look to add a center like Stefen Wisniewski, Clint Boling, or Chris Myers.