The Saints Bring Jimmy Graham Back To New Orleans!
The Who Dat Nation is going bananas since ESPN announced the New Orleans Saints just signed five-time Pro Bowl Tight End Jimmy Graham! He was drafted by New Orleans in 2010 and traded in March 2015. At 36, the former Saint has reportedly been signed to a 1-year contract to play this season. Thousands of fans reacted to the news taking to social media saying, "Welcome back home, Jimmy!"
The Saints reportedly discussed bringing Graham several times since Graham left the team, including last season. It was a sad day for many when New Orleans announced the shocking news that they trading the superstar Tight End eight years ago. The Saints said they were trading Graham to the Seattle Seahawks to improve its overall roster. Releasing Graham in 2015 they picked up veteran first-round pick and Pro Bowl Center, Max Unger. Graham and fans alike were devastated.
Thousands welcomed Graham back on social media Tuesday, July 25 after learning the iconic player was coming back home. There were mixed reactions among fans and players after the stunning trade. As everyone tried to understand why the Saints traded the overwhelmingly popular football star and look ahead to the next year.
One heartbroken fan just couldn't get over the news that Jimmy Graham would no longer be playing for New Orleans. Nobody was more upset than little Alexia Woods, she boohooed when she learned her favorite player was leaving the Saints.
Saints GM, Mickey Loomis told the sports network,
"Maybe I'll get the respect of my daughter back because she killed me when we traded him years ago." Loomis joked. "That was her favorite player. I think she'll be excited."
In addition to Graham's return New Orleans also signed five-time Pro Bowl Guard/Offensive Lineman 30-year-old, former LSU Tiger, and New Orleans native Trai Turner. So, it's a homecoming celebration for the city, fans, and players in more ways than one. Turner was a top guard during his 4 seasons with the Panthers, earning a Pro Bowl every year between 2015 - 2019.
Like Graham, Turner has played for a few teams throughout his career. Outside of the Carolina Panthers, he spent one season with the Chargers in 2020, the Pittsburgh Steelers one season, and one season with the Washington Commanders in 2022. Now that Turner is playing in his hometown, he is going to be looking to take a starting position.
Coach Dennis Allen said of Turner. "This is a signing where we felt like there's a veteran player we can bring in, put into the mix, and see how the competition plays out.
"We've played against him a lot. He's a big, physical offensive guard. That's the No. 1 quality that you see in him, is just the physicality that he plays with. We've had some good battles against him in the past and feel like he's a good fit for what we want to be able to do offensively."
There's no doubt that the most successful years of Graham's career were with the Saints. He caught 85 touchdowns and 713 passes for 8,506 yards during his time with the Saints. Loomis told ESPN the Saints never had any problems with Graham prior to his trade. He said there was no animosity or any issues whatsoever. It was nothing personal. The trade was strictly a business move at the time.
"He was a never a problem in the locker room. Not at all. He was well liked by both our staff and our players," Loomis continued. "If you look back on the decision at the time, in terms of what we were putting into the position, the value, there were just a lot of variables involved."
Coach Allen said there were talks with Graham over the summer. They brought him in for a workout on Monday and then signed him.
Allen said "He looked great, he's in great shape, he wants to be here, he wants to play for the Saints, and we felt like that was a good addition for that room," Allen said. "We've got some young, ascending players in that room in terms of Foster Moreau, Juwan Johnson. Taysom obviously has his role. We have some young players that we feel good about and are looking to develop, and we thought Jimmy was kind of the perfect fit for that room."
The Saints are reportedly going to sign veteran guard Max Garcia. The 31-year-old veteran can play at all spots on the interior. He started for the Arizona Cardinals and seven games last season. There may be a few more additions before the start of the 2023 season.