In fact, Cole mentions that the were so concerned that the weren’t sure he would even be able to finish out his current contract.
The other issue for the Saints, according to Cole, is that they want to do a better job of keeping QB Drew Brees “clean” in the pocket next year.
Because of this, the Saints were willing to take less in terms of production at tight end to bolster offensive line depth, and Cole mentions that C Max Unger was likely their best available option at the position.
For what it’s worth, Alex Flanagan reported earlier in the day that the problems had occurred between the Saints and TE Jimmy Graham after the team used their franchise tag on him created a fractured relationship between the two parties.
Yesterday, Jay Glazer dropped the report that the Saints traded Graham and a fourth-round pick to the Seahawks for C Max Unger and a first-round pick.
According to OverTheCap.com, trading Graham will free up $2 million in available cap space while creating $9 million in dead money.
Overall, many feel like the Seahawks got the better of this trade based on how dynamic Graham has been for the Saints over the past few years. There is obviously some concern here given that he has dealt with a number of injuries in recent years, but the upside is considerably high for an offense that already has some top-tier players like Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson.
Graham, 28, just signed a four-year, $40 million contract that included $20.9 million guaranteed with the Saints in July of last year.
He stands to make base salaries of $2.9 million (2015), $8.9 million (2016), and $7.9 million (2017) over the remaining three years of the agreement.
Last year, Graham appeared in 16 games for the Saints and caught 85 passes for 889 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.