Doug Farrar: ‘Saints Aren’t In Win-Now Mode’

After a flurry of recent NFL trades, it’s only natural that we step back and analyze which teams got it right and which ones didn’t – and a case could be made either way for several teams.

Which move was the most mind-blowing?

“I mean, for sheer weirdness, it’s hard to top the Nick Foles/Sam Bradford trade,” Sports Illustrated NFL writer Doug Farrar said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But as far as just the overall reach of it and the potential impact for one of the teams, I think (it’s) Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks. Boy, you give a team that was one ill-gotten pass away from two Super Bowls in a row a weapon like Graham, and that defense comes back pretty much intact – that could be something else.”

So, why would the Saints give up Graham? Why would you give up a guy who has 26 touchdown catches in the last two seasons?

“Well, they’re cap-strapped in a lot of ways,” Farrar said. “They re-did Jairus Byrd’s contract. They may have to cut Jahri Evans – which, if you watched Jahri Evans last year, that might not be so bad. They released Curtis Lofton. They’ve had to go through a lot of stuff. Now, they weren’t cap-strapped enough to where they had to lose Graham for that reason, but Mickey Loomis, their general manager, had said we want to get rid of Graham (and) free up some cap room to make our defense better, which is fine – except they got Max Unger, the center, in the trade. And for the $8 million they lost in cap space for Graham, they gained about $4 million from Unger.

“I’m not sure of the wisdom of the trade,” Farrar continued. “They did get a first-round pick out of it, so now they have two firsts, which means they can get some really good defensive players in the draft or move up and get one great player. I think from that perspective it works for the Saints because they’re not really in win-now mode. They’re going to have to do some rebuilding. The Seahawks are in win-now mode, and they went after it. You can’t wait to see that offense because teams have been stacking the box for Marshawn Lynch. You can’t do that against Graham because he’ll just eat your lunch. You can’t go nickel against Marshawn Lynch, either. So defenses are going to have a real tough time with that one.”

Getting back to Foles and Bradford, which quarterback is the better fit for his new offense?

“I don’t think there’s any question – and it’s the big caveat, and it’s why Bradford was available,” Farrar said. “If Sam Bradford can stay healthy, he’s a perfect fit for the Chip Kelly offense. If you go back to Sam’s days at Oklahoma, he ran an option offense. It was a hurry-up offense. It was that kind of system – not too dissimilar to what Chip Kelly does. In St. Louis, Bradford had bad receivers, a bad offensive line, some really weird offensive coordinators. But Pat Shurmur was his offensive coordinator in 2010 when he was healthy, and he had that really great first season.”

As a rookie, Bradford completed 60.0 percent of his passes for 3,512 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. After a couple of shoulder issues and two torn ACLs, however, Bradford, 27, has missed 15 games in the last three years.

Said Farrar, “There’s a lot to overcome there.”

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