Since winning the Super Bowl in 2009, the New Orleans Saints are perhaps one of the worst-run franchises in the NFL, simply skating through each season above disaster only because of Drew Brees.
Historically bad defenses, mind-numbing cap problems, lame attempts to build an elite secondary, pay-for-injury bounty programs, and splashy trades that consistently end in 7-9 seasons. (They’ve finished 7-9 in four of the last five seasons, time for Sean Payton to officially take the throne from Jeff Fisher.) The Saints once had an offense and system to marvel at but now they’re just a disaster that we forgive because everybody loves passing yards.
I don’t think this offseason will be any different.
Though New Orleans has more cap room this time around, they’re already involved in trade talks to unload one of their best players, they most likely will overspend on one or two defensive players who don’t actually fit in Dennis Allen’s system, and they’ll potentially push too hard because of a desire to win now due to the fact that Brees is 38. Then again, I may be too hard on them. Some draft picks in recent seasons have been major hits (Terron Armstead, Michael Thomas, I like Sheldon Rankins) and they can certainly contend because of Brees and a few others. Will any of the players they don’t bring back be of interest to the Seattle Seahawks?
Impending Free Agents
Jahri Evans, G
Hey, look who it is!
John Schneider expressed remorse at the combine about cutting Evans last season, who went on to start all 16 games in his return to the Saints, but I can’t imagine they’ll re-visit that fiasco. I’m sure Evans isn’t too keen on a reunion either, though that’s some projecting on my part and maybe he harbors no ill feelings about the whole situation. But Evans worked for a spot on the roster, they decided to go in a different direction, and I would be wary of history repeating itself.
Darryl Tapp, DE
Hey, look who it is!
One of the very first moves of the Pete Carroll/Schneider era was trading Tapp to the Philadelphia Eagles and getting Chris Clemons in return. The move was heavily derided at the time (here at Field Gulls, I recall) but things worked out okay with Clemons. Tapp has surprisingly stuck around the NFL ever since, recording a .5 sack last season. I would guess that he’s still not a fit for Carroll’s defense.
Paul Kruger, LB
Kruger won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 and then immediately cashed in with a big free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns. I was a little surprised that he actually lived up to most of the hype, but he’s recorded just four sacks in the last two seasons with the Browns and Saints. It’s probably not a fit, he’s more like a second-tier version of Connor Barwin, who the Eagles may release or trade.
Jairus Byrd, S (released)
Speaking of released, Byrd’s awful three season career with New Orleans finally came to an end this week when they cut him despite a hefty dead money penalty over each of the next two seasons. Byrd was the Saints’ attempt to mimic what Seattle had with Earl Thomas (quite literally they were trying to copy the Seahawks Legion of Boom and it failed miserably) but he’s actually no fit for Seattle. Byrd may go back to the Buffalo Bills, where his father is an assistant coach.
Nick Fairley, DT
Fun fact about me: I actually love, love, love Nick Fairley. Was one of my favorite players when he was in college, thought the Detroit Lions got an elite player when they picked him 13th overall in 2011, he flashed some of that potential but it never went far beyond that. Fairley had one season with the Rams in 2015 and then one season with the Saints, in which he just posted a career-high 6.5 sacks. I wonder now what his market will look like and if he’ll command the long-term deal that teams have refused to give him in previous offseasons. I would say yes, and Fairley could get a pretty sizable contract, as he only just turned 29 and has once again reminded us of the player he was at Auburn. I’d absolutely say he’s a player that in general would interest the Seahawks, but if he’s one of the premier defensive tackles on the market, and they’re so far being linked to Earl Mitchell and Terrell McClain, maybe he’s a little out of their price range. Then again, maybe not, and I’d be stoked with that.
Travaris Cadet, RB
Cadet is like C.J. Prosise but older and worse. Actually, he’s not like Prosise at all. Not a player of interest, could struggle to make a final roster.
Sterling Moore, CB
A cornerback, that’s undisputed, but probably not one that fits in Seattle’s defense.
Others: S Roman Harper, OLB Jason Trusnick, LT Tony Hills, RB Tim Hightower, TE John Phillips, S Jamarca Sanford, LS Justin Drescher, CB Kyle Wilson, S Shiloh Keo, LB Michael Mauti, LB Sam Barrington, G Tim Lelito, CB B.W. Webb (30.25” arms)
Brandin Cooks, WR
I wrote about the Seahawks and Cooks here, but also if you want to see how nuts people can get about it, check my Twitter feed.
Potential Cap Casualties
Dannell Ellerbe, LB
New Orleans traded Kenny Stills for Ellerbe two years ago and last season he played in nine games with four sacks. Another player on that 2012 Ravens defense who got paid after the Super Bowl, Ellerbe is injured constantly and probably not an option for Seattle’s need at outside linebacker.
More 2017 NFL Free Agent News:
Will Packers release Cobb, Matthews?
Vikings part ways with Adrian Peterson, will have many “name” OL on market
Da Bears have a corner who could interest Seattle
Lions have big questions on offensive and defensive lines
Colts new GM has huge task ahead of him
Texans still paying for the Osweiler mistake
Titans and the end of the Chance Warmack era
Jags must undo the Gus Bradley era
Ravens have big decision to make at right tackle
Bengals bevy of free agent offensive linemen
Browns have at least 2 free agents who would interest Seahawks
Hey Steelers, you can’t pay everyone like a superstar
Bucs can quickly move away from the Doug Martin situation
Panthers looking to reload after failed season
Jets release Darrelle Revis, Nick Mangold, others
Bills have a former Pete Carroll player looking for one more title shot
Rams could be making some key cuts
Cardinals have plethora of good defensive players hitting the market
Should the Redskins sign Kirk Cousins long-term?
Cowboys may have best guard on the market
Eagles may have Seahawks next big FA signing
Russell Okung going to be one of the Broncos free agents
Chiefs are doomed to lose a star player
Chargers have a former Seahawks LB looking to get paid
Raiders have a very intriguing right tackle