RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks’ search for a tight end has landed them Jimmy Graham.
The Seahawks and New Orleans Saints agreed to a trade Tuesday, sending Graham to Seattle in exchange for veteran center Max Unger, pending a physical. The trade also is expected to include Seattle sending its first-round draft pick this year to the Saints and the Seahawks receiving New Orleans’ fourth-round selection.
Adding pass-catching options for Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson appeared to be an offseason priority. But rather than going into free agency, the Seahawks went after one of the top pass catchers in the NFL, regardless of position, and a perennial Pro Bowl tight end.
Fox Sports first reported the trade discussions.
Graham is a former college basketball player who played one year of college football at Miami before the Saints drafted him in the third round in 2010. He became the favorite target of Drew Brees in just his second season, with 99 catches for 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns, which led the Saints in all three categories.
Graham has yet to match his 2011 numbers since, but he still led New Orleans last season with 85 receptions and 10 TDs despite playing through an injured shoulder. His 889 receiving yards were third on the team.
Graham held out before the start of last season before signing a four-year, $40 million contract extension rather than playing under the franchise tag. Seattle will inherit the remaining three years on that contract.
Unger has been the Seahawks’ starting center since his rookie season, but he has been slowed by injuries. Unger played in just six regular-season games while suffering from ankle and foot injuries. Unger was an All-Pro in 2012 and was a big reason why Seattle had the NFL’s top rushing offense.
UPDATE (7 p.m.): The Seahawks and Saints both confirmed the trade. The teams also confirmed that Seattle would receive a fourth-round draft pick in next month’s draft while New Orleans would receive a first-round selection (31st overall).
Thumbnail photo via John Bazemore/Associated Press
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