Ah. 2015. The year when everyone thought Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis were nuts for shipping off Pro Bowl TE Jimmy Graham. I think enough time has passed and this conversation has been had enough to give an honest opinion on how this trade went for Seattle.
Seattle gets the offensive weapon they longed for
Seahawks trade to Saints:
First-round pick (31st overall) (Stephone Anthony)
Center Max Unger
TE Jimmy Graham
Fourth-round pick (112th)
Seattle needed a red-zone threat and they got him in TE Jimmy Graham. The Pro Bowl TE was considered a superstar in New Orleans and everyone was in a bit of shock when news of the trade broke out. In the minds of the media, the Saints were out of their minds for shipping off the dominant playmaker. But as we look at it in retrospect, it was not the trade that Seattle thought they’d be getting.
Three seasons later and Jimmy Graham is no longer on Seattle’s roster. In fact, he was almost a Saint again. He instead signed with Green Bay. While with Seattle, Graham was by no means a bust, topping 900 yards in his second year and 10 TDs in his final. It just seemed like every chance the team got to ask Graham to do something he wasn’t capable of doing, they went with it. Even though he started to get what he needed in his final season, Seattle’s offensive weapons never had a chance to shine without an offensive line. The stalwart of which was sent to New Orleans in the trade. It’s crazy to me that Seattle found a way to get a hold of a dominant playmaker and still found a way to do it wrong.
Tyler Lockett ended up being drafted by the Seahawks after they traded their newly acquired pick from New Orleans along with three others. So, in theory, the Saints’ traded pick equated to about ¼ of Tyler Lockett. While Lockett was an immediate contributor on both offense as a deep threat and the return game, his spark was short lived. His offensive production has decreased in each of the last three years, but he’s continued to be a solid returner for the Seahawks eclipsing 1,000 return yards in two of his three seasons. I expect that Lockett’s fifth year option will be picked up after this, his fourth season.
While both Graham and Lockett have produced in their own ways, the fluctuation has been drastic. All of the offensive woes in the PNW can be contributed to exactly what they gave up to get these two weapons- the offensive line. The Saints drafted Stephone Anthony with the first-round pick they received in the trade and he turned out to be a bust for the team. Anthony has now been traded to Miami in return for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. So the ball is still rolling on this trade. Even from the vantage point today though, it’s easy to see that this did not play out as expected for the currently imploding Seattle Seahawks. I just had a friend @ me in a group chat to brag about her team (Seattle) signing Sebastian Janakowski. The fans obviously don’t have much to celebrate in Seattle these days.
It might have been a smarter move to trade back into the second round, when many of the offensive lineman came off the board in the 2015 draft. At least building the front five would have added some longevity to the Seahawks’ success- a move that the Saints have a chance to make in less than two weeks.