Originally written on The Saints Nation  |  Last updated 3/10/13
The Saints turned their attention to their key restricted free agents over the weekend, taking care of Junior Galette with a three year contract while giving 2nd round one year tenders to both center Brian de la Puente and running back Chris Ivory. The long term investment in Galette is one that wasn't necessary as the Saints could have simply stuck with a one year contract tender with him as well, being a restricted free agent. Instead, they gave him a longer term deal that does two things: 1. suggests they believe in Galette as a medium term solution to fixing this horrendous defense 2. gives the team more cap flexibility this season. If Galette had gotten a tender, he would have counted about $1.5 million to $2 million against the cap this year. Instead, they can get that number down by backloading his 3 year deal, making him more cap friendly this season. The 3 year commitment to Galette tells me the see him as a 3-4 outside linebacker starter in the new scheme.  I'm glad to have #93 back with the Saints as he's clearly the best pass rushing threat on the team currently. As far as de la Puente and Ivory, both originally undrafted, the 2nd round tender is important because it means the Saints are protecting themselves from losing them. Had the Saints given either player the lowest tender, another team could sign them to a large contract the Saints couldn't match (due to their cap restrictions) and the Saints would have gotten no compensation for them because they were both undrafted. Now, if a team signs either player to a huge deal and the Saints elect not to match, they'll get a 2nd round pick. I highly doubt any team will invest a big contract and a 2nd round pick to land Ivory and/or De la Puente, so it's very safe to assume both players will be back at the 1 year contract tender the Saints offered. 
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