After sitting out the 2022 season, Jimmy Graham is back and he’s returning to New Orleans. The Saints are so excited about the move that they announced it in their Twitter profile with four simple words, “Jimmy Graham is back.”
Graham has agreed to a one-year deal with the Saints in a move that could bring his career full circle. Graham’s first year in the NFL came back in 2010 with New Orleans back and he spent five seasons with the team before moving on.
During his first stint in New Orleans, Graham was one of the best tight ends in the NFL with three of his five Pro Bowl appearances coming as a member of the Saints. His biggest year in New Orleans came in 2013 when he finished with 1,215 receiving yards while also leading the NFL in touchdown catches with 16.
The Saints decided to move on from Graham after the 2014 season and ended up dealing him to the Seahawks. Since then, Graham has played for three different teams, including Seattle (2015-17), Green Bay (2018-19) and Chicago (2020-21).
Although Graham was one of the NFL’s best tight ends in his prime, it’s not clear how much he has left in the tank. After spending the 2021 season with the Bears, the 36-year-old ended up sitting out the 2022 season, which means he hasn’t played in an NFL game in over 18 months. Although that could lead to some rust, the upside for Graham is that the layoff gave his body some time to heal.
One reason a return to New Orleans makes sense is because Graham is familiar with the offense. The Saints offensive coordinator is Pete Carmichael, who was on the coaching staff during Graham’s first stint in New Orleans.
During his 2021 season in Chicago, Graham only put up 167 receiving yards, but he did catch three touchdown passes, which could make him a solid red zone target for new Saints quarterback Derek Carr.
Before he catches any passes from Carr though, Graham is going to have to crack the roster, which won’t be easy, considering the Saints currently have seven tight ends, including Taysom Hill, Jesse James, Juwan Johnson and Foster Moreau.
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