Category Archives: Saints

New Orleans Saints don’t pick up Mark Ingram’s fifth year option

IngramThe New Orleans Saints didn’t pick up the fifth year option on Mark Ingram. This isn’t a surprise at all. Ingram hasn’t done anything since stepping on to the scene in 2011. Eventhough he had an outstanding end of last season, it doesn’t make up for his slow start of his career. The fifth year option would cost the Saints $5.21 million. He is defiantly not worth that type of money. The Saints still have Running backs Pierre Thomas Travaris Cadet, and Khiry Robinson. I am very pleased with the way these guys have been playing. Thomas is a proven guy who won a championship in 09 Robinson and Cadet are hard nosed runners who will fight to earn every yard. With that being said not picking up the fifth year option on Ingram is a sign that they have enough confidence in  those guys. Now with that being said, declining the fifth year option doesn’t mean Ingram won’t be a Saint next year. If Ingram preforms well this season, their is still the option the Saints could sign him to a long term contract.

I do agree with the Saints declining the fifth year option. Why give someone $5.21 million when they really haven’t done anything? Hopefully this will light a fire in Ingram and he will perform as well this season as he did last year in the playoffs.If he doesn’t i except Ingram to be given a change of scenery.

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The New Orleans Saints draft outlook: Centers

Who DatThe NFL draft kicks off in a week, every NFL franchise is making last minute adjustments to their draft boards. The New Orleans Saints currently have seven picks, one in each round. I know i gave my opinions about who would benefit from being drafted by the Saints in the first round a couple weeks back, but now since i have more information about the mid to late round prospects i will discuss who will fit best in the Saints system. If you follow the Saints like i do, you will know the biggest draft needs for the Saints are wide receiver, line backer, corner back, and offensive line

If i had to point out one need to be superior to the rest it would be offensive line. The center position is a big question mark after Brian De Lepuente signed a one year deal with San Francisco 49ers in mid April. The Saints need to find a replacement quick. I don’t think their is a first round talent guy at the center position, so i still expect they will draft a wide receivers and conerbacks in the first few rounds, but i would not be surprised if the Saints went after a center in the mid to late rounds. A couple of guys that have my attention are Weston Richburg from Colorado State, Marcus Martin from USC,  and Tyler Larson from Utah State.

Weston Richburg is built for the NFL. He is listed at 6′ 3” 300lbs. His is very powerful and is able to move defensive tackles with ease. The real concern with him is the level of competition he played  against in college.Colorado State is in the Midwestern Conference, which their is really no powerhouse team in that conference, so it’s unsure to me how he will stack up against the level of talent that the NFL has to offer. Marcus Martin is from Southern California, which has great competition Just like Richburghe has a build that is NFL worthy. He also has great quickness off the snap and can reach the second level. One downside is he only has one year of starting expeience at center. Martin has great upside and he could become a great NFL center if he continues to work on his craft. Tyler Larson, is a big guy. He stands at 6’4” 313 ibs and ideal size for a center. He is very quick for his size. He can seal off defenders in the run game and slides into well to pass protection. He has good change of direction to moving targets.  He is very dourable, he started the last 51 games of his college career. His main weakness is that he has short arms which can cause problems blocking bigger defensive lineman.

Even though i like all these guys i mentioned, i only think Tyler Larson will completely fit the Saints system.  The Saints love to run shotgun, the screen and pitch game. With his quickness to adjust to moving targets and ability to pass block, he will be an ideal center for the Saints.

The New Orleans Saints re-sign Robert Meacham

Drew+Brees+Robert+Meachem+Miami+Dolphins+v+Zlgr1EvJUcNlThe New Orleans Saints have re-signed former 1st round pick Robert Meacham to a one year deal. He was originally drafted by the Saints in 2007. He spent one year with the San Diego Chargers in 2012. He is still valued as a deep threat.

The wide receiver position became thin after the departure of Lance Moore. It is a possibility that the Saints could draft a wide receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft. The talent in this years draft at the wide receiver position is sky high.

He will be fighting for playing time behind wide receivers Marques Colston and Kenny Stills. The Saints also have young receivers in Nick Toon and Joe Morgan.

Meacham did a lot as a contributor on the team hauling in 16 passes for 324 yards. His 20.3 yards per catch tied Aldrick Robinson of the Redskins for highest yards per catch average in the league.It is unlikely that Meacham will see more targets at this point in his career.

Meacham fits best in his role with the Saints. He emerged as a huge play specialist in 2008-2011. He then signed with the Chargers to be in a number one receiver type role, but didn’t do well. Now he is back in the black and gold.

In his career  Meacham has 171 receptions, 2,800 yards and 27 touchdowns.

I believe this re-signing will help the Saints. They now have someone who can stretch the field. The opposing defense have to not only defend against the short passes with Colston, but they have to defend against deep passes with Stills Graham and Meacham. It will be very interesting to see how he does in the mix with all the other weapons Drew Brees has at his disposal.

 

New Orleans Saints restricted free agent safety Rafael Bush signs offer sheet with Atlanta

Rafael+Bush+Miami+Dolphins+v+New+Orleans+Saints+PnK32Q6e4aClNew Orleans Saints restricted free agent safety  Rafael Bush signs an offer sheet with the Atlanta Falcons. The  Saints will have until April 8 to match the offer or Bush will become a member of the Falcons.

The Saints issued a $1.4 million tender earlier this off-season.

The team is 2,206,141 under the cap, so it will be very difficult for the Saints to offer more than that.

On Wednesday, the Saints signed Canadian Football League Safety Marcus Ball to a three-year contract. This could signal that the Saints are moving away from Bush.  The Ball signing became official on Thursday. The Saints now have three safeties, Jaruis Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro and Ball. The Saints released safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins earlier this off-season. Harper is now with the Panthers and Jenkins is with the Eagles.

Bush played a significant role as the third safety  in the Saints 4-2-5 defensive alignment.  This past season Bush racked up 42 total tackles five pass defenses and played in 13 games (six starts).

The Saints got Bush from Denver shortly after training camp cuts in 2012. Bush started his NFL career  as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Falcons on their practice squad.

Even though i do like Bush’s talents, i believe this is the right move. The Saints need to save as much money as possible to re-sign Jimmy Graham to a long term deal. The best bet for that is to part way with Bush and sign Ball who currently has a much smaller contract money wise.  I do wish him luck in the future eventhough he will go to the Saints rival in Atlanta if the Saints don’t match the offer sheet he signed with Atlanta. Like i said above i doubt the Saints will match the offer sheet because they are barely under the cap.

Saints sign Champ Bailey to a two year deal

ImageIt seems like Bailey has some more football left in him. The 35 year-old corner back who was cut by the Denver Broncos in early March agrees to terms on a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Bailey missed most of the 2013 due to a foot injury, but he plans to come in and compete for a starting role right away. He will make the transition to the Broncos 19th ranked defense to the Saints defense who ranked fourth overall and second in pass defense.

Due to his foot injury he only played in five games last season.This marks only the second time Bailey has made less than 10 starts in his 15 year career. Bailey is barely injured, since 1999 he has started at least 13 games in his 13 out of 15 year career,

Bailey has been selected to 12 Pro Bowls. That is the most in NFL history for defensive backs and second most to any defensive player. He only trails Reggie White with 13 selections.

New Orleans is the third team Bailey has played for since entering the NFL in 1999 where he was drafted seventh overall to the Washington Redskins. After five season with Washington, he was traded to the Broncos where he  played 10 seasons, before being cut last month.

To me this is a great signing by the Saints. With the departure of Jabari Greer, corner back is a great need for the Saints. As i said in my last post the Saints will probably draft a corner back with their 1st round pick and should do so, because Bailey is only a short term fix.Even though Bailey will come in fighting for a starting job there is no possible way he won’t be a starter come week 1 in September. The current Saints second corner Corey White was exposed against the Eagles in the playoffs after number one corner back Kennan Lewis went out with a head injury. Like i said, this is a great signing he will give the thin Saints secondary a much needed boost.  Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is making things happen once again.

Mock Draft: Saints edition and possible draft targets

ImageA lot of NFL analysts and fans are mock drafting as the NFL draft grows closer. Mock drafting is like a prediction of who each team will pick in April’s NFL rookie draft. The NFL draft is seven rounds 254 picks. Currently the Saints have the overall 27th pick in the 1st round. Most mock drafts are of the 1st round only. According to the mock drafts on NFL.com  the possible draft targets by the Saints are Auburn defensive end Dee Ford, Virgina Tech corner back Kyle Fuller, and Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy.

I disagree with Dee Ford and Kyle Fuller. I think their are better players at their position that could slip to the Saints. I could see Kony Ealy in the black and gold this fall. He is a monster with a 6′ 4”  273 pound frame and a 4.6 second 40 yard dash time. That’s fast for a guy his size. I feel happy about the Saints defensive end situation right now with Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette, so in all honesty i would hope the Saints look to strengthen the secondary or wide receivers after the departure of Lance Moore and Jabari Greer. Then again, the Saints could add another defensive end, so they will have depth to sub guys in and out to keep them fresh.

A couple that I like  are Flordia State wide receiver  Kelvin Benjamin, Oklahoma State corner back Justin Gilbert, Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans, and TCU corner back Jason Verrett. Kelvin Benjamin is a big body at 6′ 5” 240 lbs. He could give Drew Brees another outside threat along with Marques Colston. Benjamin ran a 4.6 40 yard dash at the NFL combine. Even though i really like Evans, i believe he will be gone by the time the Saints are up to pick. As far as Justin Gilbert and Jason Verett go they have the ability to play pretty good defense. Verrett has really good ball skills, that makes him a threat to undercut routes and intercept the ball. My only issue with him is his height and length. So he may struggle going up against the bigger wide receivers in the NFL. I really like Gilbert. He has good size for a corner back, six feet tall and just above two bills. He also possesses good ball skills, has the ability to defend the deep ball, and  has the break away speed that if he intercepts the ball he can take it to the end zone for the touchdown. Also, he has good kick and punt return abilities. The Saints lost both of their primary kick returners in Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, so he could fit into that role as well.

I am really excited about the NFL draft this April and can’t wait to see who the Saints select in the draft. As always  Who Dat!

The New Orleans Saints re sign Zach Strief

ImageZach Strief will stay in New Orleans after agreeing to a five-year contract worth up too $20.5 million. $8.4 million in guaranteed money and a $5.5 million signing bonus.

He has done really well protecting Drew Brees and opening up running lanes for the running backs. Strief, 30 took over the starting offensive tackle position in 2011. The 2011 and 2013 seasons had to be his best so far. He has allowed three sacks in 15 starts. He struggled in 2011 due to a groin injury. Strief is a seventh-round pick out of Northwestern. He has been selected as captain the past two years.

I really think this is great news, because it guarantees he will be sticking around for awhile. The offensive line has struggled a little bit this year. It seemed to me that Brees was sacked more this season to previous seasons. Having a good offensive line is key, because you can’t pass or run the ball without a good offensive line. Plus quarterbacks are highly paid now compared to 10-15 years ago, so you want to make sure that your high paid quarterback stays off his back and off the injury report.

Now all the Saints need is to come to terms with Brian De la Puente who is a free agent and listening to other teams offers. Like i always say “In Loomis We Trust” He always seems to make things happen.

New Orleans Saints cap cutting continues.

ImageThe New Orleans Saints have released wide receiver Lance Moore in an effort to get under the salary cap. Moore is the fifth Saints veteran released this off season.

Earlier this off season, the Saints released Jabari Greer, Roman Harper, Will Smith and Johnathan Vilma. It is also rumored than Darren Sproles will be gone too. Eventhough these moves seem surprising, they were also necessary for the Saints to be able to get under the salary cap of $133 million. Recently the Saints have place an non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham.The price tag for tight ends is about $7 million. If he files grievance to be tagged as a wide receiver that amount will jump to around $12 million. The Saints are trying to work on a long-term deal with Jimmy Graham which will probably make him the highest paid tight end in the  history of the NFL.

The Saints have also placed a $1.4 million restricted free agent tendor on safety Rafael Bush. The Saints will need to clear more cap room if they want to resign free agents Zach Strief, Malcolm Jenkins, and Brian De la Puente. So with the Saints having so little  cap room they had no choice, but to release veterans to clear more space.

The only Saints that remain under contract from the 2009 super bowl season are Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Thomas Moorestead, Jahari Evans, and  Robert Meachem. Zach Strief and Malcolm Jenkins are set to become free agents on March 11.

The unofficial start of free agency is tomorrow, where teams can negotiate contracts with their soon to be free agents. This period lasts three days. Free agency will officialy start March 11 at 4:00 pm eastern time.

Will the saints cut anyone else, will they attempt to negotiate contracts with potential free agents? Stay tuned who dat nation, it will be an interesting next few days,

The New Orleans Saints are helped out with increased salary cap.

127534_jumbo_shotThe NFL will reportedly raise the salary cap to about $130 million in 2014. This is very big news for the Saints since their salary cap total is sky high. With this raise in salary cap the Saints will be about $4.6 million under the cap.  So like i said this news is amazing.

To be able to afford Jimmy Grahams franchise tag price the Saints will need to trim the salary cap at least another $10 million. It is still possible the Saints could release current veterans like defensive tackle Brodrick Brunkley, cornerback Patrick Robinson, receiver Lance Moore and running back Pierre Thomas. Those four players combined could free up about $12.6 million in cap space.

The Saints made their biggest cuts last week in Roman Harper, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer. Those three combined will account for $8.7 million in “dead money” against this years salary cap due to their signing bonuses which hasn’t been charged yet.

The salary cap is expected to rise even more in 2015 and with those three off the books the Saints may be able to stay somewhat active in free agency this year.

The Saints front office has been working hard this off season with all the decisions they have been making, but these difficult decisions are not over yet. Saints fans just have to hope that all these decisions pay off in the long run.  All and all he did take a risk on Drew Brees back in 06 and draft Jimmy Graham in the 3rd round in 2010. As Saints fans would say “In Loomis We Trust.”

Let the New Orleans Saints salary cap cutting begin

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Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints

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Last week i said some players will have to be cut soon in order to get under the cap limit, because the Saints were way over the cap limit. 12-15 million. This week the New Orleans Saints start trimming salary cap in a push to sign Jimmy Graham and other potential free agents. Some of the notable guys who got cut are as follows: cornerback Jabari Greer, Outside Linebacker Will Smith, safety Roman Harper, and middle linebacker Johnathan Vilma, all of whom were with the Saints during the 2009-2010 Super Bowl winning team.

I expected that these were the players that were going to get cut.

They are aging and all have had major injury concerns throughout their career. These decisions are tough, but it was needed to get the Saints under cap. I think their under the cap limit as of now, but more cap space is needed to sign or franchise tag free-agent Jimmy Graham.

Those players were receiving major money this season Will Smith $11.55 million, Roman Harper  $3.15 million, and Jabari Greer $4.55 million.  Unfortunately, the Saints will have a$ 6.5 million cap penalty, due to the signing bonuses. When a player gets cut before his contract is up, the player is still owed his signing bonus.

It will be interesting who General Manager Mickey Loomis will cut next.

In my opinion, Drew Brees needs to restructure his deal which is worth $100 million. This year he is set to make about $18 million with a cap hit of $18.4 million. Cap hit is how much of the cap room a player takes up. His contract in it’s peak stages which means the cap hit will go up next year. So if the Saints don’t restructure his contract then the Saints will run into more problems along the road.