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Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The Saints may have surprised some people by deciding to not wait until the draft to address their quarterback situation. The signing of Drew Brees to a six-year, $60 million deal gives Sean Payton a proven veteran to build his ...

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Old 03-19-2006, 09:29 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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Team Report: Strategy and Personnel

The Saints may have surprised some people by deciding to not wait until the draft to address their quarterback situation. The signing of Drew Brees to a six-year, $60 million deal gives Sean Payton a proven veteran to build his offense around - if Brees' rehab from shoulder surgery continues at its current pace.

With Brees in the fold, the Saints gained a lot of flexibility for the April 29-30 draft. With the second overall pick, the Saints can choose a quality player (perhaps even quarterback Matt Leinart) or they can trade down and attempt to pick up a few extra draft picks to fill needs at several other positions.
--LB Anthony Simmons, who did not play in 2005 because of a wrist injury, has agreed to terms with New Orleans.

--S Omar Stoutmire has agreed to a contract with New Orleans. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

--OG Kendyl Jacox was cut by New Orleans. He has been bothered by knee problems in recent seasons.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Linebacker: Now that they have a quarterback in Drew Brees, the Saints could use the second pick in the draft or trade down to address other needs - which start at linebacker. They signed free agents Scott Fujita and Anthony Simmons and may try to upgrade the position even more, perhaps with the addition of Ohio State's A.J. Hawk early in the draft. The Saints have been desperately thin at this position for several years, which was quite evident when you consider veteran castoffs Ronald McKinnon and T.J. Slaughter were their best linebackers at the end of last season.

2. Offensive line: With center LeCharles Bentley gone, they have to find a replacement and might even think about a major overhaul - especially for a creaky left side of their line. Tackle Wayne Gandy is 35 and guard Kendyl Jacox was cut after experiencing knee problems the last couple of seasons. The right side of the line is solid with two young players - guard Montrae Holland and tackle Jammal Brown - holding things down.

3. Cornerback: Mike McKenzie and Fred Thomas are the starters, but the Saints need more depth here after Fakhir Brown left via free agency. The only experienced backups are Jason Craft and Joey Thomas, and Thomas, who didn't play a lot after being claimed off waivers at midseason, will have to prove himself to this coaching staff. They will likely attempt to address the position before the draft, however, with a veteran free agent from another team.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: LB James Allen; WR Az-Zahir Hakim; TE Lamont Hall; WR/KR Michael Lewis; RB Fred McAfee; LB Ronald McKinnon; S Mel Mitchell; LB T.J. Slaughter; RB Antowain Smith; RB Anthony Thomas; DT Willie Whitehead; DT Cedric Woodard.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: TE Zach Hilton; OG Montrae Holland.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: LB Terrence Melton.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: None.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: RB Michael Bennett; QB Drew Brees; LB Scott Fujita; C Dwayne Ledford; LB Anthony Simmons; S Omar Stoutmire.

PLAYERS LOST: C LeCharles Bentley; QB Aaron Brooks; CB Fakhir Brown; LB Sedrick Hodge; DE Darren Howard; OG Kendyl Jacox; TE Boo Williams.

http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/teamRep...gyAndPersonnel
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