The stupefying Jimmy Graham blockbuster sent shockwaves through the fan base. Has the Super Bowl window closed on the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era Saints? Has the organization lost its identity? Is there anyone on the roster that general manager Mickey Loomis is not shopping? How does Loomis figure to fix his tattered defense by trading for a center?
Now that the smoke is clearing, the Payton-Loomis plan has come into view.
After nine years with Brees' high-flying aerial attack as the face of the franchise, the Saints are trying on a new persona.
The revamped backfield is reminiscent of Payton's 2006 offense, with Ingram playing the role of Deuce McAllister between the tackles and Spiller mirroring Bush's role on the edges and in the passing game.
By the end of the week, the Saints had compiled their most draft picks -- five of which are in the top 80 selections -- since 2002.
This might have been a team in search of an identity following a disheartening 7-9 season, but it's certainly not one waving a white flag among the rubble.
Here's what else we learned on Friday:
The trade is essentially a salary dump for the Dolphins, a franchise that has taken its fans on a fun ride this week. It will be interesting to see how the roster shakes out once the renovation is complete. They have done an impressive job of overhauling a pass-catching corps that was among the league's bleakest entering the month.
- What Ryan has never had is a valid franchise quarterback. The Steelers recognized the disproportional NFL value of that rare species, signing Ben Roethlisberger to a new five-year contract on Friday. At the organization's insistence, Roethlisberger has successfully transitioned from physical wonder to cerebral passer over the past couple of seasons. He's never played better than he did in leading the NFL with 4,952 passing yards in 2014.
- For a few hours Friday morning, it appeared that the Tennessee Titans might spend an increasingly rare day basking in the NFL spotlight after re-signing Derrick Morgan and Karl Klug and importing three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Orakpo. The front seven has the makings of the lone strength on Ken Whisenhunt's otherwise uninspiring roster.