this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Inside Slant from Yahoo 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 ...
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|03-04-2008, 06:11 PM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New Orleans
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Team Report (3-3-07)
Inside Slant from Yahoo
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 defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn, tight end Billy Miller, quarterback Jamie Martin, cornerback Fred Thomas and safeties Jay Bellamy and Steve Gleason.
• CB Randall Gay has agreed to a four-year deal with the Saints. The contract is reportedly worth up to $17.6 million.
• The Saints, who were more than $25 million under the salary cap earlier in the week, created more cap space before the start of free agency when they terminated the contract of veteran kicker Olindo Mare, who was released after failing a physical.
A 12-year veteran, Mare was to earn $1.5 million in 2008 and ‘09. He finished 2007 on injured reserve after he hurt his right hip while making a tackle on a kickoff in a Dec. 10 game at Atlanta and later underwent surgery.
Mare struggled last season, his first with the Saints after they traded a sixth-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins last spring. He made just 10 of 17 field-goal attempts before being injured.
• Rebuffed in their efforts to sign Zach Thomas, the Saints acquired Jonathan Vilma from the Jets on the first day of free agency for an undisclosed draft pick.
• Saints running back Reggie Bush failed to show up for a scheduled deposition on Feb. 25, the latest twist in the civil lawsuit against the former Heisman Trophy winner who allegedly accepted cash and gifts from sports marketers while playing at USC.
Sports marketer Lloyd Lake is seeking to recoup some $291,000 in cash and gifts the star running back and his family allegedly accepted from Lake and his former partner, Michael Michaels, while Bush was in college.
Watkins said he received a fax from one of Bush’s attorneys saying Bush would not be at the deposition. Bush’s attorney, David Cornwell, would not comment.
Watkins requested that Bush bring extensive financial records, including those documenting the purchase of a car, as well as canceled rent checks for the suburban San Diego home where his parents lived and for a condo in Los Angeles.
The NCAA and Pac-10 Conference are investigating whether Bush and his parents took improper benefits during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Bush has not met with NCAA and Pac-10 investigators and has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
• Pulaski County, a three-year-old gelding owned by a group that includes Saints coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, quarterback Drew Brees and singer Jimmy Buffett, rallied for a one-length victory on Feb. 21 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Pulaski County, who was claimed by the group for $50,000 in October, broke his maiden in the eighth race. It was his fourth start of the Fair Grounds campaign and his first since being gelded in mid-January.
• The Saints recently signed free agent wide receiver Carlton Brewster to a two-year year contract.
Brewster was with the Denver Broncos, but was waived on Feb. 13. Before that, he was in the Green Bay Packers’ training camp in 2006.
Quote To Note: “My knees are coming along fine. All the tests have been good. I’m making good progress and I’m back to jogging some.”—Saints RB Deuce McAllister, on his recovery from a torn left ACL suffered in Week 3 of the 2007 season.
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