The New Orleans Saints shocked the NFL when they opted to trade away star tight end Jimmy Graham in the early stages of the 2015 offseason - sending him to Seattle in exchange for center Max Unger and the Seahawks' first round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
With Graham having been a figurehead of the Saints' offense for several years the gap that now needs filling is one that is causing concern for fans as they look ahead to the 2015 season.
Head coach Sean Payton has hyped up rising talent Josh Hill to take on the brunt of Graham's duties, but, reports today have revealed the franchise has invited a two-time Pro Bowl TE for a visit in a bid to add much needed experience.
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo broke the news that Jermaine Gresham - most recently of the Cincinnati Bengals where he gained Pro Bowl honors in 2011 and 2012 - was meeting with the Saints on Thursday:
The fact that Jermaine Gresham remains on the free agent market is largely down to the recent herniated disc surgery he underwent in March. Indeed, his visit with New Orleans is the first he has taken since going under the knife..
The 26-year-old remains a talent, though, despite concerns over his health. Last year he started 15 games for the Bengals, managing 460 yards and 5 touchdowns, and is one of only three TEs in NFL history to have made over 50 receptions in the first three years of their career.
Not like for like
Of course, his seasonal statistics pail in comparison to Jimmy Graham's output but Gresham's arrival in New Orleans isn't though to be as a direct replacement.
With Hill expected to gain opportunities as a pass catcher Gresham's known ability as a blocker is what is likely attracting Sean Payton to a potential deal.
It will be interesting to see how this one develops and whether a deal follows this weeks visit. A lot will depend on how Gresham has recovered since surgery but, if all goes to plan, New Orleans fans will be able to support a new JG come the fall.
Saints fans: Would Gresham be a good addition, and can the team cope without Jimmy Graham? Have your say in the comments below...
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