Shock and Awe! I never saw any of these four trades coming. But they’re pretty darn exciting. The very first one I saw today was so unbelievable I thought it was a joke. Jimmy Graham is no longer a New Orleans Saint. One of the top two tight ends in the NFL will be a new target for Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. New Orleans received All-Pro Center Max Unger, and a fourth round draft pick. Both players must pass a physical to complete the deal.
In five seasons with New Orleans, Graham had 386 catches for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns. Drew Brees’ favorite target will be wearing green in 2015.
I was very surprised when Philadelphia Eagles Coach Chip Kelly allowed LeSean McCoy to be traded to the Buffalo Bills. He seemed a perfect fit with the Eagles matching his running ability with a talent for receiving. Even more surprising is his swap of Nick Foles for St. Louis Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford.
It’s not that Bradford lacks talent; his weakness is injury. Bradford played only seven games in 2013, and missed all of 2014 when he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament twice. His is also a costly acquisition; he is due $12.985 million in this his final year of a contract.
Foles is due $1.522 million in base salary in his last year of a contract. However, he will force the Rams to carry $3.595 million towards the cap because of signing bonuses paid to Bradford.
Bradford is considered to be insurance in case former Oregon star Marcus Mariota becomes too expensive a trade in the upcoming draft.
St. Louis Coach Jeff Fisher receives a proven quarterback. Although 2014 saw Foles slide, and sidelined for eight games with an injury, in 2013 he threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions, leading the Eagles to the playoffs.
Sources say that All-Pro San Francisco 49er running back Frank Gore will sign with the Indianapolis Colts. He is a free agent, and had originally considered a deal with Philadelphia to fill the void created when McCoy was traded. Rumors say that the deal offered by Indianapolis was similar to that of the Eagles, but Gore felt he fit better into the Colts’ system.
Philadelphia is a ‘pass first’ offense, and does not have an offensive line which can create sufficient space for a running back with Gore’s bruising style. Indianapolis is committed to a running game which will give their star quarterback Andrew Luck additional protection and time to throw.
I always believed that I would watch Baltimore Ravens’ defensive tackle Haloti Ngata retire wearing a purple uniform. Because Ngata accounted for $16 million against the salary cap; the Ravens simply could not afford the five-time Pro-Bowler. He will join the Detroit Lions’ defensive line which lost Ndamukong Suh a few days ago.
Baltimore will receive a fourth and fifth round pick in the draft. In addition to Ngata, the Lions will receive a seventh round pick.
Free agency began just two-and-one-half hours ago; hold on to your beer, the excitement is just beginning.
By James Turnage