Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Life in "Cap Hell"

Just a few very quick things about the Jimmy Graham trade.

1) No, Jimmy is not a cap casualty
It’s also worth noting that this was not a cap move. Despite the Saints struggling to reel in their spending by Tuesday’s 3 p.m. deadline to get down to $143.8 million in salary, that task was accomplished and parting ways with Graham was not fueled solely by money. By trading him, the team only saves $2 million against the cap. This was about football. If it wasn’t, the team would have converted Graham’s $5 million roster bonus to a signing bonus to create additional space.

2) Everybody knows that the biggest problem with the team last year was the offensive line.  More so than cornerback, even, in my opinion... not that that wasn't a problem also, but Holder has it backwards here. 
At center, the Saints bring in a proven veteran with plenty of credentials. Unger will turn 29 in April and has Pro Bowl selections in 2012 and 2013 along with an All-Pro selection in 2012 on his resume. Coach Sean Payton said solidifying the middle of the offensive line was the team's No. 2 priority behind filling the void at cornerback opposite Keenan Lewis.

Unger only played six games in the regular season in 2014, dealing with ankle and knee injuries, but he returned to start in all three postseason games. His injury history must not be an issue, right? (See: Jairus Byrd).

I hesitate to say the Saints lacked confidence in Tim Lelito being able to handle the starting center duties, though. The futures of guards Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs aren't concrete (is anyone's now?), so maybe the Saints have a plan up to shift Lelito to that spot. I'm not discounting anything.
Let's assume Unger is healthy. (Just as likely to be as Graham is anyway.  There's an outside chance this is one of those trades that gets voided when neither player passes a physical.)  Either Evans or Grubbs could very well be toast.  Lelito is probably ready to play at guard anyway. In any case, it all needs to be shaken up. 

3) Josh Hill is a pretty good tight end. Probably not gonna get 1200 yards out of him but the dude will make some plays. We've already seen that happen.

4) Maybe it's just because Graham is kind of a jerk.  Enjoy Seattle. They're looking forward to hanging out with you.

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