With Jimmy Graham, Seahawks Now Have What It Takes to Go Undefeated

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterMarch 10, 2015

Derick E. Hingle/USA Today

Let me say one thing first about tight end Jimmy Graham going to Seattle. What I'm about to say is not hyperbole. This is not an uber-Hot Take. It's not an overreaction. This is how I feel, and I believe it is true.

If I were the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the last team to go undefeated through the Super Bowl, I'd be nervous. Their undefeated season is in real jeopardy because I'm not so sure the Seahawks will lose a game next year. I said it. I mean it. That's how much getting Graham means.

On a crazy, wacky, insane, bombastic, gorgeous, incredulous, remarkable, unbelievable start to free agency, the Seahawks made the biggest move in acquiring Graham, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Kevin Patra). This will go down as one of the most significant trades of all time. It will change everything for this team, including giving it a solid chance to challenge the Dolphins' undefeated mark. I'm serious. I'm totally serious.

My reason is actually rational and level-headed and a reflection of what I've watched this Seahawks team do the past few years. They've been to consecutive Super Bowls with one of the least explosive passing offenses of any Super Bowl team. They had no speed or athleticism at wide receiver and were still a dumbass play call away from winning two straight championships with a slow receiver and a slower receiver.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 16:  Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints warms up on the field prior to the start of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Reve
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Now, it is true that against physical defenses, Graham can be intimidated. I've written this as well. I watched the Seahawks defense just absolutely punk him into a soiled puddle of tears. Seahawks defender Michael Bennett called Graham "overrated" after Seattle beat New Orleans in a playoff game two seasons ago.

But Graham is now on the side of the bullies. There are few teams out there with defenses that can do that to Graham, and he just joined one of them. Bennett and Graham may have an awkward locker room first meeting, but they'll smooth that over.

So add up that athleticism at tight end, the return of Marshawn Lynch and a defense that mostly returns intact, and the Seahawks might be unbeatable. Might be. Not saying they are. I'm saying they got a shot.

I texted a 49ers scout about the Graham trade, and he sent me back one word: "F--k."

To be clear: Not saying they will go undefeated. I'm saying they have best shot since the Patriots nearly did it in 2007. That team came close. I'm saying the Seahawks might do the same.

Sure, they lost center Max Unger in the trade for Graham, but remember what this franchise does. It replaces talent as well as anyone. Not saying the Seahawks won't miss Unger—they will—but they will find a way without him. They always find a way.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Graham are the only tight ends in league history with multiple 1,000-plus receiving-yard seasons and at least 10 touchdowns in those seasons. Think about that. I know this is a passing league, but of all the great tight ends to play football—names like Mackey and Gates and Ditka and Gonzalez—Graham is one of just two guys to do that.

This is the response I'll mainly get: What about Seattle's offensive line?

It will be OK. The Seahawks had offensive line problems last year and still got to the Super Bowl.

The team lost a good corner in Byron Maxwell, who signed with the Eagles, as announced by Philadelphia, but again, the Seahawks are deep, and they are expected to pick up Cary Williams from the Eagles, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. Williams wasn't great in Philly, but he's now in a system with Richard Sherman on one side and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas as safeties.

They have other advantages. The division is a mess, so they'll win it again. The 49ers are in shambles. The Cardinals are a solid threat (particularly since their quarterback situation will be better this coming season), but Seattle is still superior. The Rams just traded Sam Bradford for Nick Foles, per NFL.com's Albert Breer (via Marc Sessler), so they swapped a guy who's always hurt for an unknown. Think the Seahawks are worried about Foles?

Also, one of the biggest things with this Seahawks team: They don't lose interest. They constantly stay motivated and hungry. They all still have chips on their shoulders.

Before Graham, the Seahawks made sure Lynch stayed in the fold. His antics overshadow what has already been a career path to the Hall of Fame, and this coming season will likely cement that path. From ESPN: Since the Seahawks signed Lynch in Week 6 of 2010, he is first in the NFL in rush attempts (1,346), rushing yards (5,930), rushing touchdowns (54) and yards after contact (2,707).

Lynch has 8,695 career rushing yards and 71 career rushing touchdowns. The last four seasons, Lynch has run for 1,204, 1,590, 1,257 and 1,306 yards.

My guess is Lynch has two or three solid years left. He's got a shot to finish in the 11,000-yard range. Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk, O.J. Simpson, John Riggins and Curtis Martin are all in that area.

The way Lynch and Russell Wilson present matchup problems in the running game, the Seahawks now have a weapon who does the same in the passing game. They didn't have that before, and they still went to Super Bowls.

So what do you think will happen now that Graham is there?

Remember exactly what I'm saying: Seattle has the best chance to go unbeaten in years. Not saying it will. Just saying it has the best shot.

Go ahead and flame me. Call me names. Won't be the first time you've done it.

But if I were the 1972 Dolphins, I'd be nervous.

Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

Related

    He's a Fit for Virtually Any Team. So Where Will Chris Jones Land?

    While not quite a household name, the Chiefs DL is one of the best players scheduled to hit this year's free-agent market ➡️

    NFL logo
    NFL

    He's a Fit for Virtually Any Team. So Where Will Chris Jones Land?

    Kristopher Knox
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Competition Committee to Discuss Renewing PI Replay Rule

    NFL logo
    NFL

    NFL Competition Committee to Discuss Renewing PI Replay Rule

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report

    Roethlisberger (Elbow) Says He'll Be Cleared in 2-3 Months

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Roethlisberger (Elbow) Says He'll Be Cleared in 2-3 Months

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report

    Irsay: Colts Wanted to Draft Luck and Wilson in 2012

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Irsay: Colts Wanted to Draft Luck and Wilson in 2012

    Rob Goldberg
    via Bleacher Report