Seattle Seahawks: Saint’s Jimmy Graham traded to the Hawks for Max Unger

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This just in: the Seattle Seahawks trade center Max Unger and a 1st round draft pick in the draft to New Orleans for tight end Jimmy Graham and the 4th round pick.

This trade has sent social media a blaze.  On the precipice of a blogosphere inferno, here at Seattle Side Up, we fuel the debate with the merits and disappointments of the trade.

Arguing this incendiary point/counterpoint are contributing editor Matthew Paige and national writer Richard Michelson.

SSU: Gentlemen, was this an equal / fair trade?  Did the Seahawks give up too much?


Absolutely, this trade cost too much. This trade actively weakens the already suspect offensive line for the Hawks and was completely unnecessary. Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas…these are just two of the TEs available via free agency for cheaper, and wouldn’t have cost the Hawks an All-Pro Center and a 1st round draft pick.

The Hawks clearly needed a receiving threat, but this is literally THE YEAR of No.1 WRs on the FA Market. We could have easily hired an established threat at WR, which is more of a position of need than TE, for far cheaper.

New Orleans clearly are the winners in this deal.


Matt you may be an editor and the resident expert on correcting my poor spelling and grammar, but you are sadly mistaken. Jimmy Graham is Elite at the TE position. Let me review with you what that means. E-L-I-T-E. Graham is better at his position than Max Unger is at his.

Additionally, an elite TE is harder to acquire, develop, and utilize than a center. A few more points:

  • The Hawks 1st round pick is a glorified 2nd round pick. The Seahawks have a habit of hitting the jackpot with 4th round picks; 1st round picks are inconsequential.
  • The Hawks offensive line is only suspect against the pass rush.
    • One reason for this is that the opposing defenses can play man to man and blitz Wilson like crazy.
    • Oh and the Offensive Coordinator-who-must-not-be-named- has never heard of leaving a TE or RB in to block vs. a blitz.

Matt, of course the trade was unnecessary; no trade is. Breathing is necessary, the 12th Man is necessary. And scoring in the Red Zone is necessary. And so it having legit Redzone threats. Not Ricardo Lockette, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, and Chris Matthews (Why wasn’t he on the field for the “Call heard round the world”?).

Now the Seahawks have 3 legitimate Red Zone Threats: Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, and Jimmy Graham.


SSU: What positives or negatives does Graham bring to the Hawks?


Jimmy Graham is not only an incredible Red Zone threat, he can stretch the field. In Graham’s 5 NFL seasons he has merely 386 receptions, 4752 yards (12.3 ave) 60.9 yards/game, 51 TD and 60 plays of 20+ yards. Those numbers are better over a 5 year period than any receiver that the Seahawks have had in the last 15 years.

Only Seahawks legend and Hall of Fame WR Steve Largent (every category) and Darrell Jackson (yards and ave) have better performance in Seahawks history.

That’s right folks, He is immediately better than every other receiver the Seahawks have ever had. 

Matt (and others) have an uninformed assertion that he won’t block, that is just nonsense; in New Orleans, he blocked plenty.  This link from Saints fans shows Graham being used as a team player to help his offense.  He can block just fine, the Saints just didn’t ask him to very much.

I predict that he will be more than happy to block when asked to for players like Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson.


While it’s true Jimmy Graham is an incredible asset in the red zone, he isn’t a true tight end. He’s not known for his blocking, as he’s basically a WR. Why not have him lineup at WR? Because he cant keep pace with real corners.

He’ll bring flash, as well as Percy Harvin flashbacks.

SSU:  How do the Hawks replace Unger?


Short answer, they can’t. While he missed a lot of time last year, his presence on the field is HUGE for that offensive line. There’s no heir apparent, unless you consider Jean-Pierre, who is half the center that Unger is.

When Unger was on the field last year alone, we averaged over a yard more per carry  in our run game. On a running team, thats HUGE.

In an offseason where we already said goodbye to a solid but not great Guard in James Carpenter, we now find ourselves even more short handed. For a running team, that has no high draft picks, in a league that now values lineman, this is VERY troublesome.

Once again, we traded from a position of weakness to strengthen a position we were already strong at. It just makes no sense, we lost too much here.

They can’t replace an All-Pro instantly. However they could replace him via the draft or trades. Unger’s presence can’t be understated. I am in no way saying that Unger isn’t good. He is very good. And when healthy one of the best 5 centers in the NFL.

When Unger leads the attack for Lynch, Beast Mode averages more than a yard/carry more. That is huge. Be-that-as-it-may, you can more easily replace or fill in for a center than you can for an impact TE.

A reminder for myopic members of the 12th Man, we used to have this awesome center named Robbie something? Oh yeah Tobeck, that’s it that’s the ticket.  He was a Pro Bowler on one of the best offensive lines ever. He retired in 2006 and we drafted some scrub out of Oregon, who has made every Seattle fan pretty much forget poor Mr. Tobeck (while he kills it selling insurance).

SSU: How do you grade the trade??


This trade is a solid B. This has the potential to be an A+ if the Seahawks can get in a center who can gain some chemistry with Wilson, and if Wilson and Graham can get on the same page in the passing game.

There is nothing illogical to this trade Matt. You try to get the most talent on the field at the same time and then figure out how to use it destroy your opponent (see Seattle Seahawks Defense circa 2012-2014). John Schnieder and Pete Carroll know how to bring the best out of motivated players.

This is nothing like the Harvin trade at all. Graham has missed 2 NFL games in his career. He is consistent. He is big target. And I predict Wilson will eat up NFC backfield’s with him and Lynch available on every play.  I am looking forward to hearing Steve Raible call:

“Wilson drops back, play action to Lynch, looking, looking, throws, TD Seahawks! TD Wilson to Jimmy Graham!”

[Drops mic, walks away. Matt cowers in corner in shame].


Overall, I rate this trade as a D-minus. It has the potential to be upgraded to a D-Plus with additional moves to supplement the huge weakness exposed, but honestly this deal is incredibly illogical all by itself.

I have to give John Schnieder the benefit of the doubt though, because he’s earned it.  So if this is just phase one….we’re all waiting for phase two.

[Shouts into the mic as Rich runs away]

I‘ll wait till the offseason is over, but honestly Rich, this may have cost the Hawks the playoff.


Jimmy Graham: 6’7 265lbs tight end.  6th year out of University of Miami (FL).  3x All-Star, 2x All-Pro.
Max Unger: 6’5 305lbs center.  6th year out of Oregon University, 2x All-Star, 2x All-Pro


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