Saints coach Sean Payton specifically asked John Schneider about acquiring the former Pro Bowl center, and then the two sides began talking about compensation.
The first-round pick the Hawks included in the deal made it seem as if Seattle had approached New Orleans about Graham, but that’s not the way it happened, according to Schneider and other sources.
“They had strong interest in Max,” the Seattle GM told 710 ESPN. “They really want to fix their center positon (and) concentrate on their defense. For us, it was, ‘OK, who are the players involved?’ (Graham) came into the fray and we started talking about it.”
The Saints apparently were still at odds with Graham over the franchise tag battle last year, when the tagged him as a tight end and he filed a grievance seeking to be tagged as a wide receiver, which would have paid him about $5 million more. He ended up signing a four-year, $40 million contract.
Now the Hawks have him for the final three years of that deal — assuming they don’t change it or he somehow doesn’t work out.
This is the latest — and perhaps best — chance for the Seahawks to create the kind of tight-end-focused offense they have tried in the past.