NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Nearly two weeks after pulling off a blockbuster trade that sent Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, Saints coach Sean Payton discussed what led to the deal.
"Typically in an off-season, you're preparing for the draft, you're going to lose a few players to free agency or to other teams, and you may sign a player or two - at least that's been our history," Payton told Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. "What's unique this year is there have been a few trades. Of course, it's a significant trade when you're trading a guy like Jimmy Graham, who is a Pro Bowl player. It really is looking at, hey where are the areas where we need to improve? Where are those must areas? And where are the assets that we feel like we can do that?"
"And Mickey Loomis and I discussed this trade for a week leading up to it. We really felt strongly it was going to require the player Max Unger for instance but also a first-round pick. You don't go in skeptical on a thing like that because typically there aren't a lot of trades with players like that, and yet with Seattle for about a week, it was able to work out. So we gotta look at how do we improve our defense, how do we improve certain weaknesses of our team. You don't ever want to lose a player like Jimmy and yet, we feel like this gives us an opportunity to do that."
In exchange for Graham, the Saints received Pro Bowl center Max Unger and Seattle's first-round draft pick, number 31 overall. The NFL draft begins April 30.