Saints Explain Graham Trade

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The New Orleans Saints trading Jimmy Graham on Tuesday was probably the biggest surprise of the day, and it had most people wondering the same thing: Why would they get rid of one of the best tight ends in football?

Saints GM Mickey Loomis was on Sirius XM NFL Radio and explained the team’s thinking.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to this: We’ve had a good offensive team for a number of years,” said Loomis, who cited the team’s statistics since Sean Payton took over. “We do well on that side of the ball, but we’ve got to improve ourselves on defense. … so we took one of our assets on offense and turned it into some resources (that) hopefully we can improve our defense with.”

Loomis also said that coming off a 7-9 season, he felt they “had to make a bold move” and shake things up, which this did. He conceded that it was a “tough decision” because they love Graham, who has scored 51 touchdowns during his career.

There are also a few other factors to consider that may have led to the trade. For one, the Saints were over the salary cap by more than any other team in the league. Graham was owed nearly $25 million over the next three seasons, so they saved a little money by trading him. Two, Graham just was not the same player last season as he battled his shoulder injury. He had two games where he did not catch a pass because he was limited, and he only caught one touchdown over the final four games of the season. Perhaps they felt he would not be the same player in the future. Lastly, the team appears to be changing its offensive approach slightly thanks to the emergence of Mark Ingram. They spent money to re-sign him and may be gearing up for a more run-heavy attack in the future.

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