Mickey Loomis on Graham trade: We have to improve on defense

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Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had a big hand in one of the three trades that kicked off the start of the new league year on Tuesday afternoon when he sent tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle.

The move came as a shock to quarterback Drew Brees and plenty of other people because the Saints were less than a year removed from giving Graham a four-year, $40 million contract. Loomis attempted to provide an explanation for what he deemed a “bold move” during an appearance with Zig Fracassi and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Tuesday night.

The explanation centered on the need to get better on defense.

“We’ve had a good offensive team for a number of years. We’ve been able to finish in the top four or five in offense in eight of the last nine years. We do well on that side of the ball, but we’ve got to get better on defense. There are three ways to get players in our league. That’s through free agency, it’s through the draft and then trades. We believe in using all avenues. We took one of our assets and turned it into some resources that we can hopefully improve our defense with.”

The first-round pick acquired in the deal can certainly be put to use on the defensive side of the ball, but Loomis will need to hit on it and their other defensive moves to make sure that they outweigh any drop in offensive production that may result from shipping Graham out of town.

57 responses to “Mickey Loomis on Graham trade: We have to improve on defense

  1. “Resources” were spent on center Unger nearly dollar for dollar in the trade of Graham to Seattle. Has he been talking to Chip Kelley?

  2. Lol so you give away you’re best player so you can get a 1st (which is at the end of the 1st, not like it’s a top 5 pick) to draft an unproven rookie that you hope will turn into a stud? Breese has to be pissed…

  3. This trade, like the Bradford deal, or the Ngata deal, wasn’t about offense or defence. They were about money, and cap space.

  4. “We need to get better on defense”…. so we traded our 2nd best offensive player for a center and a pick at the bottom of the first round while we let our aging and declining franchise QB continue to be the only one of his peers who hasn’t even been approached about restructuring his absolutely massive and crippling cap hits for the next two years.

  5. Remember last year all the Saints fans when they signed Byrd to a massive contract despite having no cap space?

    “Mickey does it again!”

    Yup, he sure did.

  6. Problem is that first round pick is #31 where there are no sure things. You are lucky to get situational players and future starters at that point, not superstars.

  7. You want to improve your defense so you trade your second best player for an OL to the team with the league’s best D? Um, think about asking for, I don’t know, maybe a DEFENSIVE player…

  8. More like graham made a big stink about a new contract, then had a mediocre season at best. That’s how you get traded. Someone let drew Brees know.

  9. I think Brees would still need some sort of playmaker added to the offense. Graham was a matchup nightmare that would be double teamed every snap potentially. Take that away from them and there’s not too much to worry about.

  10. Saints are sunk with that move. Proven play makers are very valuable in this league. Taking a proven play maker and trading for an unproven draft pick is not wise, down right stupid.

  11. What Loomis should have said on Graham trade: Drew Brees’ contract has crippled our team and it is going to be tough to compete

  12. Loomis spent a ton of money on Jarius Byrd and Jimmy Graham last year. Now they have serious cap problems.
    It sounds like the Saints Front Office (GM and cap specialist) have done a poor job of planning for the future.

    Why sign expensive players if you can’t afford them a year later?

  13. Drop in offensive production? Graham couldn’t make the hard catches last year… He started hearing footsteps all the time and having alligator arms… Also, we had to take him out on run downs because he couldn’t block which gave the defense a heads-up on the play being a run or pass… He had a great year leading up to getting his huge contract and then went and had one of his worst seasons and he gets hurt way too much… Saints won the Super Bowl without Graham and finished in the Top 5 offensively pretty much every year Drew’s been here so I don’t think the departure of Graham will have any major effect on the offensive production going forward…

  14. This one hurts. He could have traded him to a AFC TEAM AND GOT A BETTER PICK THAN THAT. 31st pick. OUTRAGEOUS. If this don’t work. He should be out. STUPID! Man

  15. oriolesvsravens says: Mar 11, 2015 7:41 AM

    I think Brees would still need some sort of playmaker added to the offense. Graham was a matchup nightmare that would be double teamed every snap potentially. Take that away from them and there’s not too much to worry about.
    ==================
    Yeah, then how did the Saints finish number 1 on offense multiple times before we even drafted Graham??

  16. A couple of years ago, Saints fans were 100% in favor of the huge contract that Brees got but now the chickens have come home to roost. The Saints have a couple of young “potentially” good wr’s but far from proven. They would’ve been better off cutting Colston and trading Brees while he still has some value left.

  17. They would’ve been better off cutting Colston and trading Brees while he still has some value left.
    =========================
    Colston is a steal for the Saints at his price tag now…. And Brees is a future first ballot HOFer that still has a couple of very productive years left on the Number 1 offense in the league….. NFL teams should be knocking your door down to get on as a GM…….. Internet experts lol

  18. Too bad the Saints take a $9 million cap hit due to the contract Graham signed last season.

    Once he got traded, $3 million next 3 years come forward to this years cap.

  19. Unger is a huge boost to the o-line and will give brees more time to throw than he got last year. Also what sb44champs said was spot on. Jimmy would completely disappear in some games last year. Obviously jimmy is a hard player to replace but the offense should be fine. Plus brees cant throw to jimmy while hes double or triple covered anymore, thats a plus lol. I think the saints will gain a couple new starters for the defense with those two picks and this trade isnt as bad as most are making it out to be.

  20. Graham is a good player but without a solid OL, a good running game, and a good defense, it is very difficult to win a championship in today’s NFL. They can have all the offensive weapons they want and it still wouldn’t matter (see last year’s Super Bowl).

  21. Mickey Loomis is one of the best GMs in recent history…as a Saints fan, I like the trade. I like Jimmy but he has become frustrating to watch play. Dropped passes, injuries, missed assignments, can’t block…I mean really, he’s no Jason Witten or Gronk…he’s got a unique skill set but hardly a well rounded TE or WR. He was great in the redzone but not in space…the Saints will be better for having traded Jimmy.

  22. It was indeed a bold move but a necessary trade nonetheless because or offensive line was soft just like Graham has shown from time to time. We have not had a center since our Superbowl year and now we finally got that. The team will be fine without now teams can’t focus on just one player. Bree’s spent too much time focusing on getting Graham the ball.


  23. sb44champs says:
    Mar 11, 2015 8:53 AM
    They would’ve been better off cutting Colston and trading Brees while he still has some value left.
    =========================
    Colston is a steal for the Saints at his price tag now…. And Brees is a future first ballot HOFer that still has a couple of very productive years left on the Number 1 offense in the league….. NFL teams should be knocking your door down to get on as a GM…….. Internet experts lol”
    ————————————————————-
    Hmmmm, probably the best coach in the NFL, Belicheat, would tend to disagree with you and agree with me. It is much better to trade a player a year or two too soon than too late. Brees contract is causing the cap pain in N.O. and as you stated, he has a couple of years left (with a rebuilding team) but Graham is a young star. Even T.Brady restructured his contract to keep the Pats elite but Brees (for all his bravado about being a team player) really only thinks about himself. Many players who are in the HOF played a couple years too long…..E. Smith, B.Favre, J.Rice to name a few.

  24. Brees is singlehandedly destroying the team that gave him the chance to become a star. Maybe it’s little man’s disease. Or the chip on his shoulder from not being appreciated in San Diego. Likely a combination of both. But to demand a contract like that on the back end of his career is selfish and delusional.

  25. @thejuddstir – Tom Brady has never gone to the front office and asked that they take money from him to keep the team together. He has agreed to front office requests that change cap space in while giving him his money anyway. Also, I think Tom was pretty upset at one point that the cap space wasn’t used to retain Welker.

    With that said the Saints didn’t go to Brees to restructure so not a Brees issue.

    Also, Brees spent his first 6 years in New Orleans (SB MVP and all) playing for $10 mil per year which is very low for a QB of that caliber – so now he is making the money that Brady and Peyton have made for a decade and he’s the problem.

    As evidenced by Phi, NO and certainly NE player money is far from guaranteed. It is insane to believe that players should give money back when most of it isn’t promised anyway.

    Just out of curiosity, why didn’t Tom give money back to retain Logan Mankins, Revis, Browner, Vereen, etc. Seems like NE is shedding quite a bit as well.

    The Saints biggest issue is that they have used the FA market too much, not hit on draft picks and held on to aging overpriced vets for too long. The purge has to happen and it happens to all including NE.

  26. For all of you non-Saints fan posters. Let a true Saints fan and someone who actually lives in Louisiana clear up some obvious misinformation.

    1. The Saints won the SB without Graham.
    2. The Saints have been in the Top #5 offense since Brees/Payton came on board in 2006. Graham was not acquired until 2010.
    3. That 31st pick means at lot with two in the first round, and three in the first 45 picks. No “special” guys to draft at the bottom of the first? You do know that Graham was drafted in Round #3, right?
    4. We did take an unproven rookie and turn him into a stud – GRAHAM, and Cooks, Stills and Vacarro are on their way.
    5. BECAUSE the Saints have a Top #5 offense, we could “afford” to let one of our offensive players go.
    6. Max Unger will be an outstanding addition as it will give Brees more time to throw, and we all know how dangerous that is.
    7. The additional draft picks will be used on defense.
    8. Brees’ contract is not the issue. If you look at career earnings for some of the elite QBs in the league – Manning is at $230 million; Brady at $150 million and Brees is at $131 million. Move on, Brees’ contract is not the issue.
    9. Last year, our offense did not suffer when Graham was out, and he was out a lot. And we STILL were a Top #5 offense, so he was expendable.

    I love Jimmy Graham. But the Saints have to shore up the defense and this was out best weapon to get more value to do so.

    Saints will be fine, you worry about your own team!

  27. Just to clear up further confusion, the Top #10 compensation packages for QBs in the league for 2014 (2014 playing year) are…drum roll please!

    1. Jay Cutler, 17.5M
    2. Eli Manning, 15.15M
    3. Peyton Manning, 15M
    4. Sam Bradford, 14.5M
    5. Philip Rivers, 13.8M
    6. Ben Roethlisberger, 12.1M
    7. Drew Brees, 10.7M
    8. Matt Ryan, 9.5M
    9. Carson Palmer, 9M
    10. Alex Smith, 7.5

    Now, how many QBs above Brees on this list are considered “elite”? Maybe two.

    In 2015, Eli Manning, Big Ben and Jay Cutler will all earn more for this playing year than Brees. And, Matt Ryan and Peyton Manning are less than $1M behind him. Neither three of the ones earning more than Brees this year are anywhere near the QB he is, nor a first-ballot future HOFer.

    Now, can we let this “Brees is killing the Saints with his contract” alone?

    The actual facts do n0t support the argument.

  28. This was a good trade for both teams! The Seahawks needed a tightend. Now for the Saints… The Saints have not been the same offensively since we loss Bushrod, Nicks, and Goodwin (the first time). Unger will be a huge upgrade at center! Last year we were TERRIBLE at center and Drew didnt look comfortable! Goodwin’s better days have passed him by and Lelito looked completely lost when He had to replace Goodwin… The center is the most important person on the offense besides the quarterback from a scheme and protection standpoint. We would have let Jimmy go last offseason if he hadnt been a restricted free agent. No one wanted to give up a three picks for a TE. So the Saints had to resign him last offseason for leverage… This is also why the Saints fought for him not to receive the Wr tag… If he had been tagged a Wr again we lose leverage…Good job Mickey lets bo get some defensive talent!!! Best of luck Jimmy!!!

  29. Kim is right…here’s where the Saints offense ranked in the 4 years prior to Jimmy’s arrival:

    1st, 4th, 4th, 1st including 2 NFC championship appearances and one Super Bowl Championship victory!

    We can move the ball without Jimmy and we win without him…nothing but love for him but its not as if the sky is falling. We have Colston, Stills, Cooks and Watson…all with 2 first round picks in the 2015 draft overall. And now, a young pro bowl center…not worried but every other NFL team should be.

  30. We (The Saints) are in a pinch because we went all in for the Super Bowl last year. Nothing wrong with that and what they are doing to fix the situation.

    Josh Hill will have more TD’s than Jimmy Graham next year.

  31. It’s dangerous to look at overall stats because football really is a game of trends–you’re as good as your last few games say you were. And down the stretch last season the Saints lost at home 41-10 to Carolina and 30-14 to Atlanta. They weren’t a top 5 offensive team in either of those games or really for much of the second half of the season.

  32. This trade is way worse than my colts giving up a late 1st for T-Rich. Do the Saints know they just traded a Top 2 Tight End in the league to a team thats missing peace was Redzone target. smh. way to give the Hawks a one way ticket to next years Super Bowl. Tools.

  33. Saints going to do what’s best for the Saints… Both teams got what they wanted from the trade..

  34. It’s dangerous to look at overall stats because football really is a game of trends–you’re as good as your last few games say you were. And down the stretch last season the Saints lost at home 41-10 to Carolina and 30-14 to Atlanta. They weren’t a top 5 offensive team in either of those games or really for much of the second half of the season.

    —————————————————
    Uh, overall stats is where you end up at the end of the year on offense/defense. Its a “cumulative effort” of the years work, not just one or two, or even three games.

    And Saints finished 2014: #1 yards; #1 First Downs; #3 Passing and #3 Receiving.

    I’m sure a LOT of NFL teams would take those stats. I know I will.

  35. sfsugator says:
    Mar 11, 2015 10:57 AM

    This trade is way worse than my colts giving up a late 1st for T-Rich. Do the Saints know they just traded a Top 2 Tight End in the league to a team thats missing peace was Redzone target. smh. way to give the Hawks a one way ticket to next years Super Bowl. Tools

    ———————-
    yeah we also broke their O-line good luck getting him the ball their running game will also suffer.

  36. Have to agree with those saying this is a win-win for both teams IF both Graham and Unger can show they can stay healthy. Seattle gets the passing game playmaker they have desperately needed for Wilson and New Orleans gets a top offensive lineman and a shot at a quality player with the #31 pick. Just hoping both of these guys can stay healthy and play at high levels for their respective new teams

  37. This was a WIN-WIN for both teams. As a Seahawks fan, its hard to see us letting go of Max Unger. He has been a Captain on our team, the anchor of our OL and a Perennial Pro Bowler since entering the league. He missed 10+ games last season due to nagging injuries and potentially a Cap cut. With him possibly being a cut, trading the #31 pick for Jimmy Graham and a 4th rd pick was a NO BRAINER. SEA has coveted a BIG Receiving threat for Wilson and this was the opportunity to do so. IMO, we weren’t going to find “that guy” @ #31 in the draft.

    As many above have said, NO has been a HIGH powered offense and the DEF has been the downfall. This draft is particularly heavy in DL. NO receives the #31 pick and there should be 4-5 good DTs to pick from. On top of that, they receive Max Unger, who when healthy, can stabilize the OL for NO.

  38. Quit the “Brees is crippling the team with his contract” talk. You’re all idiots for saying this. He is getting fair market value. He is still the saints #1 piece. If you’d like to complain about the crippling contracts of their overpaid guards, I’d totally agree.

    The main issues with the saints offense is pressure up the gut. Getting a veteran center will contribute to fixing this problem. I’m sure one of the 1st round picks can be used on an other interior lineman and one for defense.

    Jimmy is a special player, and the saints will miss his match-up advantages. I’m curious to see how well he performs in seattle’s offense. Many guys have left New Orleans and not been nearly as productive. Best of luck to JG.

    The saints success in 2009 and 2011 should be contributed to dominant offensive lines. Carl Nicks and J Evans were in their primes and DB always had a clean pocket. Additionally, these teams were top 6 rushing teams, with not real bellcow backs.

    The saints want to get back to ground and pound, and Unger will help them in this category. Ingram ran exceptionally well last season, despite our terrible offensive interior.

  39. “I’m sure a LOT of NFL teams would take those stats. I know I will.”

    Thanks for making my point. You got beat down at home by the Falcons. You would have made the playoffs if not for that loss. And your response is “Hey, the yearly stats say we did great!”

  40. @mogogo1 The saints are better off having not made the playoffs. Sacrifice a one and done for a top 15 pick on a team with some big holes on defense and they made out staying home. The team had its issues last season, one of which brees was constantly feeling pressure, forcing him into making errant throws which caused some bad turnovers. Unger is a huge help to fixing the oline and should help out grubbs and evans as well. Brees may have lost one of his fav targets in this deal but he has more time to throw to his other weapons as in the big bodied colston, cooks and stills.

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