After trading him to the Seattle Seahawks three years ago, the New Orleans Saints are interested in bringing back tight end Jimmy Graham in his free agency.
For the first time in years, the New Orleans Saints will be a player in NFL free agency. After kicking the can through salary cap purgatory, New Orleans will have $33,657,967 in available space. That might be enough for them to bring back a familiar face in Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, “Jimmy Graham and the Seahawks are expected to part ways in free agency, and Graham will draw interest from a bunch of teams – including the Saints.” Graham played his first five NFL seasons for the Saints out of Miami. He was traded at the start of 2015 NFL free agency for center Max Unger.
Though Graham made two Pro Bowls in his three years with the Seahawks, he isn’t seen as the best tight end football like he was when he first played for the Saints. Graham made three Pro Bowls his first five years in the league, earning All Pro honors in 2013. He had 386 grabs for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns with the Saints.
While Graham would become a reliable red-zone target for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Graham only recorded 170 receptions for 2,048 yards and 18 touchdowns with Seattle. Keep in mind that 10 of those touchdowns came in 2017. Graham never eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in Seattle uniform. He did it twice in New Orleans.
So it’s not just production that will have Seattle moving off the 31-year-old tight end. Seattle is not in as good of a spot financially as New Orleans. The Seahawks have just $14,514,310 in available space.
They could be seeing star players like Graham, defensive end Michael Bennett, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas all leave this offseason. Seattle will likely build its new team around Wilson and inside linebacker Bobby Wagner. The Seahawks may want to bring back defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and wide receiver Paul Richardson in their free agencies.
Simply put, the Saints have both the necessary capital and the need for a guy like Graham in their offense. Graham would familiar faces in quarterback Drew Brees slinging him the ball and head coach Sean Payton calling plays for him. New Orleans won the NFC South last year and could be a contender to reach Super Bowl LIII out of the NFC in 2018.
Bringing back Graham could be risky, as we might have seen his best ball behind him. However, the Saints look to be a seamless fit for him. If he can’t go back to being a superstar in New Orleans, then Graham will never be the player he once was. That being said, the Saints won’t be alone in inquiring for his services in free agency.
All we know is that Graham won’t be back in Seattle. With Unger playing well the last few years, New Orleans definitely one that trade. Adding Graham to the Saints’ passing attack could make this the most dangerous offense in the NFC. Keep an eye on Graham in his free agency.