There's been a lot of speculation floating around about whether the Saints would be willing to entertain trade offers for Jimmy Graham, or whether they would match an offer if someone were willing to offer two first round draft picks to get him under the non-exclusive tag. All of this conjecture got me thinking about what it might actually take to convince PayLoo to trade a player who is arguably the best at his position (assuming you consider him a tight end, which I do). Ignoring potential draft picks as compensation for the moment, I figured that the only scenario that might actually make sense would be a trade for another player who is arguably the best at HIS position, a position at which the Saints desperately need to improve.
We're all familiar with the Saints' soft spots heading into the new season, so I won't go over them again in too much detail. Suffice it to say that cornerback is an area that PayLoo is probably intent to address in free agency, especially since their recent track record at identifying talent there on the open market (Greer, Lewis) has been a heckuva lot better than their record of drafting talented cornerbacks out of college (Jenkins, P-Rob, Johnny Patrick). So, given that PayLoo are already scouring the free agency ranks for DBs who could shore up our secondary, would they consider a straight-up trade for Darrelle Revis in exchange for Jimmy?
Let me take a moment here to say that I don't think that this would ever happen, but it sure is fun to consider, isn't it? Personally, as much as I value Graham (and as much as I think Drew does, too), I could certainly get behind the idea of moving Revis Island to the Mississippi River. Even though Revis' contract is more expensive on a per-year basis than Jimmy's probably will be ($16 million per year), none of it is guaranteed, so there's a lot less long-term risk stemming from a potential career-ending injury. All indications are that Revis is fully recovered from his surgical procedure, and he is likely to play even more confidently next season than he did this past year on his rehabbed knee. Graham, on the other hand, has been nicked up the past two seasons, and even though he has played through pain admirably during those games, one has to question whether he will continue to be the dominant force he has been, or whether teams will continue to be able to neutralize him by disrupting his routes.
We've all seen games where Jimmy is completely unstoppable, but we've also seen games where he completely disappears. I admit that I haven't watched every game Revis played last year, but I don't remember ever hearing about a game in which he failed to show up or allowed a game-winning play against him. In terms of bang for one's buck, I think Revis may earn his keep even more than Jimmy in that regard. Plus, could you imagine what a secondary headlined by Revis, Lewis and Vaccarro would be like? Three dominant DBs, all relatively young, able to lock down wide receivers for the next 4+ years? If Little Rex knew how to use Revis (and I think it would be hard to argue that he didn't), I'm pretty sure that Big Rob can do the same. Couple that with our emerging D-line, and I don't think it would be unrealistic to project us as a Top-5 defense coming out of the gate.
Maybe I just have enough faith in Drew to find other targets, or maybe watching the games in which Greer and Lewis got injured scared the bejesus out of me enough to realize that we need two solid shutdown corners to run Ryan's system more than we need a reliable ball-catcher, but if Tampa Bay came knocking and offered Revis for Graham in a straight-up trade, I wouldn't hold it against Mickey if he told his secretary to fax his acceptance back right away. That's just me, though; what do YOU think?