For the first five years of his NFL career, Jimmy Graham put up amazing numbers in four of them. The lone difference was his rookie season in which he didn’t start until midseason for the New Orleans Saints. After shockingly being traded to the Seattle Seahawks before last season, his playing time was cut short by injuries and his numbers were down. Is another trade in the works to move Graham elsewhere?
Graham had his 2015 season cut short to just 11 games played after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon in Week 12. It’s going to take him a long time to recover and rehab from that injury. It’s possible that when he plays again, it won’t be in Seattle.
According to ESPN, many believe that the Seahawks could look to trade away Graham and see what his worth is on the market. Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider is not one of those people.
“No, I don’t, I really don’t. I understand why people would say that based on the salary and what some people have … people on the outside may perceive as a lack of production. But really, truly, the guy is a special player. We gave up a No. 1 draft choice for him. He’s a great guy. He’s going through a lot right now with his rehab, and he did nothing but give it his best since he came here.”
In 2015, Graham had 48 receptions for 605 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers were the second lowest of his career in receptions and yards after his rookie season, but it’s the lowest number of touchdowns he’s ever had in a single season.
Yes, the injury cut his season short, but things weren’t going so well for him before it happened.
Jimmy Graham has a salary cap hit of $9 million for the Seattle Seahawks next season, but none of it is guaranteed. Releasing him would save the team all of that money and not cost them a single, solitary dime.
If they felt that the Jimmy Graham/Seahawks experiment wasn’t working before his injury, they may look to let him go. Another option, though, is to trade him away or at least field offers to look into getting something in return for him.
Graham does have a long road ahead of him to get back on the field at full strength, but when he does, he can still prosper in a high-powered and pass-happy offense. He did it with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, but there are others in the NFL that could work with him, too.
The Sports Cheat Sheet believes there are three viable options as landing spots for Jimmy Graham next season if the Seahawks decide to trade him.
The New York Jets could be a landing spot for Graham if Seattle decides to trade him, but they won’t have a lot of money (around $12 million) in cap space. In 2015, the Jets had a mere eight receptions for 95 yards from their tight end position with Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Davis.
Even a Jimmy Graham at 75 percent would offer more production than that.
Jacob Tamme and Levin Toilolo are the tight ends with the Atlanta Falcons, and Tamme wasn’t too bad at all in 2015. He was second on the team in receiving with 59 receptions for 657 yards, but only one touchdown.
Atlanta has a very explosive offense and could really benefit from having Jimmy Graham in the line-up over Tamme. In New Orleans, the Saints proved that a two tight end system could work even if one was a more talented star, and that’s exactly what Atlanta can do.
Finally, the Green Bay Packers could be a good option, but they would need Graham to be healthy before even looking at possibly trading for him. The Packers dealt with more than their fair share of injuries last season and don’t need to start out with another one.
Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Graham? Green Bay Packers’ fans would easily say “thank you.”
The Seattle Seahawks may give the Jimmy Graham experiment another season before deciding to release him or trade him. His health status is going to say a lot about whether or not he returns to Seattle, but there are some trade options out there and it could be financially beneficial for the Seahawks to cut ties.
[Photoby Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images]