The 2015 edition of the NFL offseason is heating up, providing us with a few stunning moves, including a massive rush of trades that include Jimmy Graham leaving the New Orleans Saints for the Seattle Seahawks, the Philadelphia Eagles sending Nick Foles to the St. Louis Rams in favor of Sam Bradford while the Baltimore Ravens traded away Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions.
Bradford & Foles
We’ll begin with the quarterback moves, which make little sense, unless Bradford is of a package meant to land the Eagles with Marcus Mariota in the draft, which means moving up a few spots. After trading LeSean McCoy away, this move by Chip Kelly is beyond head scratching for a large part of the fan base. Jeremy Maclin also left the Eagles for the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency. In short? The Eagles gave up on their starting quarterback, leading running back and leading wide receiver in the span of one week.
There is more to this Foles-Bradford deal, however. The Rams get the 2015 fourth round pick from the Eagles and a second round pick in 2016, while Philly pick up the Ram’s fifth-round pick in 2015. There’s also a conditional pick in 2016, depending on how many snaps Bradford plays. If Bradford plays less than 50 percent the Eagles will get a 4th-round pick, if he does not play at all it becomes a 3rd-rounder. If Bradford plays more than 50 percent of snaps the Eagles will not receive any additional compensation.
Jimmy Graham to Seattle
The New Orleans Saints gave Jimmy Graham a big contract, and then traded him a year later. What? Yes. Maybe they’re fearing some drop in production to be a constant thing (85 receptions for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, a steep decline from the 2013 season), or maybe they’re so desperate to improve their offensive line that they’re taking away Drew Brees’ default passing option. Whatever the reasoning is, it feels a bit strange.
In any case, Graham goes to the Seahawks and becomes an excellent passing target for the Seahawks who have been searching for a tight end. In return, center Max Unger and a first round draft pick in 2015 (31st overall) go to the Saints. Unger, who is a two-time Pro Bowler and one of the rare cases of players who are on the Seahawks squad from before Pete Carroll become the head coach, played in only six games last season due to knee and ankle injuries.
Detroit Lions replace Suh with Ngata
The Detroit Lions have lost Ndamukong Suh to the Miami Dolphins and their top four defensive tackles are free agents. Going for a 3-4 nose tackle might not make a lot of sense initially but we could be seeing them taking a different approach and switching to a 3-4 defense in order to accommodate their new arrival and handle the losses they might be taking.
The Ravens receive a fourth round and fifth round draft pick from the Lions for Ngata and also a seventh round selection from this season. He’s a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was having a great 2014 season but was suspended for the use of PEDs, missing four games. The Ravens tried to restructure his deal as he goes into the final year of his contract, but couldn’t move things. He would have been a $16 million cap hit, and now the Ravens clear $8.5 million by trading him.