WHO SHOULD GO?
Hello Who Dat Nation, it has been almost a year since I have wrote for Saints Nation, but the time off gave me a chance to really think about the Saints future and what they need to do in this offseason. I don’t know if the Saints defense got a memo saying that NFL defenses are playing by Sarcastiball rules, but many changes need to happen to get this defense to a respectable level again. Free Agency is almost a week away and the Saints need to let Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby, Eric Olsen, Turk McBride, Scott Shanle and Elbert Mack walk. Joe Morgan is more than capable of taking over as the speed and down field threat that Henderson has been since he was drafted in 2004. I like Henderson and respect what he did for us in 2009, but he hasn’t really done much in the past two years that make me say they need to keep him and the same goes for Courtney Roby. Roby was rarely used as a receiver and had a nice run as the kick and punt returner, but there is better talent than him on the team at a shorter cost in Tavaris Cadet and also having the multi-talented Darren Sproles. Scott Shanle has been a steady Who Dat for a while and I never like to see or say that they need to go but it is obviously time to say goodbye with his age increasing and skills decreasing. There is also little need to keep Will Smith anymore. He has a cap figure of 14.5 million this year and that’s way too much to keep an aging, now mediocre DE. Many think that his contract should be restructured but there is younger talent that needs to be taken advantage of. His salary alone could clear up enough room to resign key players that the Saints desperately need to keep.
WHO SHOULD STAY?
Believe it or not, there are defensive players that are worth keeping even though the Saints had one of, if not the worst defense in NFL history. One player that I think needs to be resigned is Junior Galette. He hasn’t been given enough opportunities to show his talents. With only playing in about 20% of the Saints defensive plays, he had the third most sacks on the team behind Cam Jordan and Will Smith. He was also in the top ten in the league in pressuring the quarterback. One of the most glaring problems with the Saints defense is that they need to get to the quarterback more and Galette lets that happen. Although he is a DE, he has every ability to stand up and become a pass rushing OLB. A similar player like Barkevious Mingo should be drafted to add to the depth to the Saints effective young pass rushers. Having Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, Cam Jordan, and Barkevious Mingo rushing a quarterback can become a serious problem for opposing O-Lineman. Another defensive player worth keeping is Jonathan Casillas. Last year I thought that he would break out and become a star that the Saints desperately needed, but that didn’t happen. I don’t think he will become that guy anymore but he can add good depth to the linebacking corp. Speaking of linebackers, Jonathan Vilma SHOULD NOT BE RELEASED. He is too valuable as a leader and mentor to these younger players. He is a man that I want to have on my team and be involved at crucial times in a game. However his contract of 8.6 million cap figure is too hefty for him now as he isn’t likely going to be a starter anymore.
A current and hopefully future starter, Jermon Bushrod, needs to be resigned. There hasn’t been much information on what he is asking, but he needs to be resigned. In my opinion he has to be priority number one. The left tackle is the second most important player on the offense and that is to protect the number one, Drew Brees. There are options the Saints could explore at LT in free agency, but I would like to see someone, who has protected Brees pretty well since he was thrown into the fire in 2009, stay with the team. The center Brian De La Puenta needs to be resigned as well. Don’t get me wrong, he is a very replaceable player, but there are no guarantees that the Saints can land anyone better in free agency or the draft. I would like to see Saints use their fourth or fifth round pick on a center. The last two players that need to be resigned are Chase Daniels and Chris Ivory. With Daniels, I don’t have much reason to say keep him in New Orleans, but it seems him and Bress have a good relationship, as well as the rest of the team and fan base. Chris Ivory should be resigned only as trade bait in my eyes. The Saints have more than enough running backs that have talent. I hope that they will put a second round tender on him and a team takes it. A second round pick can be more valuable to this team than Ivory would be in the long run.
LOOKING AT FREE AGENCY
There’s not much the Saints can do in free agency with the cap number that they have, and at this point it is projected around 5 million over. But there are two or three players that the Saints should take a look at. The first player is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. I have always wanted him on the Saints and it is now or never. I like the way the kid played in Arizona, but was miss used in Philadelphia. He has talent if he is used the right way and the Saints desperately need depth at cornerback. With that being said, Malcolm Jenkins should be moved back to corner as he played in 2009. He was drafted as a corner and was it was thought that he could transition into a safety. He wasn’t atrocious at safety but it’s time to go back to what he knows. Isa Abdul-Quddus did a great job filling in for Jenkins when he was hurt and I think Abdul-Quddus could become a solid starter in the NFL. This being said, Roman Harper stays. He needs to stay because the lack of depth at safety. The cap hit of 7.1 million is too much to keep Harper so he needs to take a big pay cut. If he doesn’t want a pay cut and is released the Saints might want to look at Ed Reed. This is a stretch because he has tight ties in Baltimore and New England but he could become our Darren Sharper of 2013. He is an older guy that can seriously help out this desperate defense. The other player that needs to be looked at is CB Tracy Porter. You read that right. I hated seeing Porter go to Denver last year and would love for him to be back. Darren Sharper has said that Tracy Porter is coming back but nothing else from anywhere can confirm this. The only thing to worry about with him is his constant injuries, but I would rather have him for most of the season that to not have him at all. To add even more depth to the cornerbacks I think the Saints should draft Tyrann Mathieu. Hopefully he can fall into the third round where the Saints have the 75th pick. I know that it seems that there are some problems with him but I don’t read much into it. He smoked marijuana on a regular bases but I don’t see a problem at all in that. It isn’t an addictive drug and it won’t cause harm. If you think that’s a problem just look at Michael Irvin. He was doing cocaine on the regular and he was a baller every week.