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Team Report: Inside Slant

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The Saints have taken two steps forward and one step back when it comes to their offensive line. A group that allowed a league-low 16 sacks last season and just 23 the year before that now stands to return mostly ...

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Old 03-02-2008, 02:16 AM   #1
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Team Report: Inside Slant

The Saints have taken two steps forward and one step back when it comes to their offensive line.

A group that allowed a league-low 16 sacks last season and just 23 the year before that now stands to return mostly intact after starting left guard Jamar Nesbit and backup center/guard Jonathan Goodwin were re-signed to three-year contracts. Both were scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
However, it took only a matter of hours for center Jeff Faine to bolt for Tampa Bay in free agency.

Nesbit, 31, has started all 32 regular-season games and two playoff contests since winning a starting job in training camp in 2006. Nesbit was one of six starters who were to become free agents, the others being Faine, defensive tackle Brian Young, wide receiver David Patten, tight end Eric Johnson, and middle linebacker Mark Simoneau. Young and Simoneau signed late Thursday night.

Goodwin, 29, has been the Saints' top backup at center and guard since Sean Payton became the head coach in 2006 and he capably started two games at center last year when Faine was injured. Goodwin could move in as the starting center.

As a result of their pre-free agency moves, the Saints now have four offensive line starters under contract with Nesbit joining left tackle Jamaal Brown, right guard Jahri Evans and right tackle Jon Stinchcomb in the fold. And, they appear to be covered at center even after Faine departed.

The Saints also recently re-signed wide receiver Terrance Copper to a two-year contract. According to NFL Players Association figures, Copper will receive base salaries of $750,000 this season and $1.1 million in 2009.

Earlier this month, the team signed kicker Martin Gramatica to a one-year contract worth $730,000. Gramatica made all five of his field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder, after replacing an injured Olindo Mare late in 2007.

The team's remaining potential unrestricted free agents are running back Aaron Stecker, wide receiver Devery Henderson, defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn, tight end Billy Miller, quarterback Jamie Martin, cornerback Fred Thomas, and safeties Jay Bellamy and Steve Gleason.

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