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Life for the Saints after Aaron Brooks

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Life for the Saints after Aaron Brooks likely begins next season. If that's the case, the team will have a variety of ways to fill his position. SAN ANTONIO -- Many Saints fans would argue that the decision to bench ...

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Old 12-17-2005, 12:51 AM   #1
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Life for the Saints after Aaron Brooks

Life for the Saints after Aaron Brooks likely begins next season. If that's the case, the team will have a variety of ways to fill his position.


SAN ANTONIO -- Many Saints fans would argue that the decision to bench quarterback Aaron Brooks was long overdue after his inconsistent six-year hold on the job.

But when it comes to NFL quarterbacks, alternatives are not that easy to find.


Some teams waste years -- and millions of dollars and prime draft choices -- trying to fill the position. And when teams find a quarterback, they seldom let him get away in free agency.

"Everybody's always in search of the franchise quarterback," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. "Even when you have one, you're in search of the next one. Green Bay's been in search of their next franchise quarterback for 10 years.

"But it's difficult to find them on the free-agent market. It's a pretty thin list."

Loomis didn't comment on the team's plans for Brooks, who has two years remaining on his contract. He said those evaluations will come after the season.

But if the Saints decide to part ways with Brooks, here's a look at their options:

The draft

The Saints figure to have a top-five draft choice in April. They probably need to crack the top two or three to have a shot at Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart, whom most agree is the best quarterback available. Texas junior Vince Young also might declare for the draft, but he's raw, and experts don't agree that he's top-five material.

The Saints have been pleased with the progress of last year's fifth-round draft choice Adrian McPherson, a project who started only four games as a sophomore at Florida State in 2002 before being kicked off the team and playing one year for the Indiana Firebirds in the Arena Football League.

McPherson is not ready to take over next season, but if the Saints continue to develop McPherson and/or a first- or second-round choice in this year's draft, they might be able to get by with a solid veteran as their starter for a season or so.

During the next three games, Saints backup Todd Bouman will get a chance to prove he can be that guy.

Likely trade bait

San Diego's Philip Rivers and Washington's Patrick Ramsey, a former Tulane standout, are two young backups who would benefit from a change of scenery.

Rivers likely will be the most talked about option for several teams this offseason that is, if the Chargers even decide to let him go.

The price could be very high for Rivers, who was drafted fourth overall in 2004 by the New York Giants and traded to San Diego in a deal for Eli Manning.

Rivers has had two years of grooming in San Diego, which would make him more NFL-ready than a rookie. And the Chargers paid his signing bonus, so his salary ($615,000 next season) would be manageable.

The Chargers likely will re-sign their starting quarterback, Drew Brees, but they have the salary-cap room to keep Brees and Rivers, unless they get an offer they can't refuse. The Saints might not be willing to pay the price of a first-round pick (or more) for a quarterback with eight career pass attempts and who was not a consensus top-10 draft pick leading up to the draft.

Ramsey probably doesn't have as much upside as Rivers, but he could probably be had for a third- or fourth-round pick.

Ramsey has started 24 games in his four-year career, under Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and former coach Steve Spurrier. He has been solid, but unspectacular, throwing 33 touchdowns and 29 interceptions with a 10-14 record as a starter.

Ramsey was thrown into the mix as a rookie under Spurrier and was sacked numerous times in that system. Most observers thought he would become the full-time starter last season, but Gibbs brought in free agent Mark Brunell in 2004, then drafted Auburn's Jason Campbell in the first round in April.

Ramsey has one year left on his contract and also wouldn't cost the Saints much at around $2.8 million. The strong-armed 6-foot-2, 225-pound quarterback probably would welcome a return to New Orleans -- assuming the Saints are in New Orleans.

Free agency

The Saints' best free-agent option is San Diego's Brees, who almost surely will be retained by the Chargers. Pickings are slim after that.

Tampa Bay's Chris Simms will be a restricted free agent, though the Bucs probably will keep him. If they do, they likely would release one of their experienced backups, either Brian Griese or Tim Rattay.

Arizona's Kurt Warner and Josh McCown will be free agents. Most observers seem to think the Cardinals will keep Warner. McCown probably would like a chance to start elsewhere, and he's an appealing option for the Saints.

At 26, the 6-4, 213-pound McCown has plenty of upside, and he has shown potential while starting 20 games in his four-year career. He has thrown 22 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.

Other free agents will include Cincinnati's Jon Kitna, Detroit's Jeff Garcia, St. Louis' Jamie Martin, Miami's Sage Rosenfels, Carolina's Chris Weinke, Baltimore's Anthony Wright and Seattle's Seneca Wallace.

Long shots

A few veterans might be released or traded this offseason. Perhaps the most intriguing option is Tennessee's Steve McNair. The 32-year-old is due a $50 million option bonus before next season. The clause obviously will force his contract to be addressed by the Titans' front office.

Chances are, the oft-injured quarterback will restructure his deal and remain in Tennessee. But the Titans are rebuilding their team with youth. If they decided to part ways, New Orleans would be an attractive location for the Mississippi native to finish his career.

Oakland's Kerry Collins, who started 11 games for the Saints in 1998, has a similar escalator in his contract next year, which would increase his cap figure to nearly $13 million. He might land on the free-agent market, especially if he's not willing to restructure.

Minnesota is not expected to trade Daunte Culpepper, especially since his knee injury would lower his value. The team's owner has made a commitment to him, but a new coach or general manager might feel differently.

The New York Jets are not expected to trade Chad Pennington, who also is dealing with a rotator cuff injury. The Jets are more likely to release backup Jay Fiedler.

The Texans and Lions probably will stick with underachieving young quarterbacks David Carr and Joey Harrington, but new coaches or general managers with those teams might want to go in different directions.

Baltimore could also be ready to give up on former first-round pick Kyle Boller. Atlanta is not expected to let backup Matt Schaub get away, though several teams might make a push for him.

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\"Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn\'t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed.\" - George S. Patton
On another note, I\'ll take a bite of that crow 08. - Saintfan
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Old 12-17-2005, 07:15 AM   #2
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Perhaps the most intriguing option is Tennessee's Steve McNair. The 32-year-old is due a $50 million option bonus before next season. The clause obviously will force his contract to be addressed by the Titans' front office.

Chances are, the oft-injured quarterback will restructure his deal and remain in Tennessee. But the Titans are rebuilding their team with youth. If they decided to part ways, New Orleans would be an attractive location for the Mississippi native to finish his career.
If he were to become aviable, would we pick him up and the use our high pick to either trade down for more picks or to snag AJ Hawk to help solidify our LB corps?
I believe McNair would be an upgrade over Brooks, sure he has had problems with injuries but he's a fighter and a great leader for any football team. I think he could be a great help in grooming AMAC into a future starter.

McNair ist 13th overall in the leauge in passing with 2817yrd 14TDs v 9INT and a passer rating of 83.6 menwhile Brooks is 11th in yards with 2882 but has 13TDs v 17 INT and a passer rating of 70.0. And I have to say that I truly believe Brooks has a lot better WRs to throw the ball to.

Where can one find out more about who will become aviable in FA on different positions?

You kids get off my lawn!
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Old 12-17-2005, 08:41 AM   #3
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I don't know what other people think, but I feel Rattay could give us a couple of solid seasons until we can develop AMac or some other young quarterback we draft. He wasn't really in the best situation there in SanFran and he's a lot better than people give him credit.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:00 AM   #4
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I support that. Rattay would be a good choice.

I don't want to go after a franchise quarterback in the draft though. I'd rather trade down and get multiple first round picks for the defense. A-Mac might work for us, but the LB's we've got won't.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:09 AM   #5
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I'd take Rattay for a year, but I want Leinart. If we have a shot at him, screw trading down.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:23 AM   #6
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Personally, I'm scared that Leinart will pan out to be the next Jason White. Granted, I haven't seen him play many games, but he's on a stacked USC team. I'd be a little less enthusiastic at going after him. I'd like to go for a good quarterback on a 2nd or 3rd rate team. A quarterback that lost games and had to fight through adversity sounds like a great leader to me. I understand Leniart has been playing for years, but I'm still not sold on him.
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Old 12-17-2005, 09:38 AM   #7
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No worries. I don't understand though why people feel cause a QB is on a good team, he somehow is not good. Leinart year before last lost Mike Williams and Keary Colbert, and was working with freshman receivers, and receivers who did not play much. And he had his best year. The guy is a leader, and has a high football IQ. I don't see what's not to like there. Peyton's Tenn teams were pretty stacked too, he turned out okay. The intangibles you want in a QB, Leinart has them. I have seen him play a lot. This guy is for real. If we pass on him, we will be regretting this decision forever.

Also, Jason White is not even in Leinart's league, and noone EVER had him rated as a first round QB or anything close. There are no similarities there.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:01 AM   #8
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I'm going to trust on you on this one since we seem to have a similar preference on quarterbacks. I just haven't seen the guy play that much, so that may be a reason behind my feelings.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:22 AM   #9
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There are questions, no doubt. The road of first round bust QBs makes any and everyone naturally skeptical of taking a QB early. And it is definitely good to be wary. But Matt Leinart is the real deal. You don't see him jumping up and down draft boards. HE is either at one or two always, and he was one all alone last year had he come out. You don't see that out of many QBs. Eli wasn't picked to go number one overall as a junior, and definitely not Big Ben or Rivers. Rodgers nor Alex Smith either. You don't see a QB stay at the top of draft board for two straight years often. Usually they improve their stock at the senior bowl or at the combine and jump up. This dude's place is set whether he participates in either of those or not. I don't mind skpeticism though, it's healthy. I am just sold on this guy 1000000%, and would HATE for us to pass on him. If he busts, I will eat a huge serving of crow cause I have no worries that he will, and express that often.
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Old 12-17-2005, 10:26 AM   #10
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I'm right there with you on Leinart, whodi....I could pull up an old post after the Packers tragedy and show where I wanted us to lose out and draft Matt Leinart....lol. Sad thing is that they've almost done that.
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