The marquee offensive move on the first day of free agency was a trade, rather than a signing. The Seattle Seahawks dealt center Max Unger and a first-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for star tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick.
The swap dramatically changes both teams, and its most tangible impact will be on the Seahawks' passing game.
Graham vs. Seahawks tight ends: No comparison
Jimmy Graham has the most receiving yards (4,752) of any tight end in his first five seasons in NFL history.
Most TD Receptions Since Start of 2011
Graham and Rob Gronkowski are the only tight ends in NFL history with multiple seasons of 1,000 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns.
Graham is coming off four straight seasons with at least 800 receiving yards. The Seahawks have never had a tight end with more than 627 yards receiving in a season (John Carlson, 2008). Seahawks tight ends combined for 48 receptions in the 2014 season, sixth-fewest in the NFL. Seattle's 205 receptions by tight ends over the past four seasons ranks last in the NFL.
Despite that, Russell Wilson has a Total QBR of 89.8 when targeting tight ends in his career, which is ninth in the NFL the past three seasons.
A versatile option
Jimmy Graham had 67 receptions, 709 yards and 10 touchdowns when split out wide the past season. The 67 receptions were the most by a tight end in the NFL.
The Seahawks had a total of 10 receptions from their tight ends in that situation.
Doug Baldwin led all Seahawks wide receivers with 66 receptions, 825 yards and three touchdowns the past season.
Effective in the red zone
Over the past four seasons, Jimmy Graham has 50 receptions on plays in the red zone. That's the same number of red zone receptions as all Seahawks tight ends combined over the past eight years.
If the Seahawks had Graham in the Super Bowl, throwing to him at the 1-yard line might not have been criticized so much. Graham has been targeted from the 1-yard line nine times in his career. Eight of those targets resulted in touchdowns.
If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em
One perk for Graham in going to the Seahawks is he no longer has to play the Seahawks. Graham has nine receptions on 23 career targets against the Seahawks (39 percent).
In his most recent game against Seattle (2013 Divisional Playoffs), Graham had one reception for eight yards on six targets.
After the game, Michael Bennett said, “If he doesn't get a chance to get the ball, that's all he can do. He doesn't help in the blocking game. I think he's overrated, and I'm not afraid to say it on TV.”