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Free Agency Winners n Losers

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Winners • New Orleans Saints -- The centerpiece move for the Saints so far has been the acquisition of middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who could help New Orleans take a significant step forward if he's sufficiently recovered from last fall's ...

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Old 03-09-2008, 11:26 PM   #1
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Free Agency Winners n Losers

Winners

• New Orleans Saints -- The centerpiece move for the Saints so far has been the acquisition of middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who could help New Orleans take a significant step forward if he's sufficiently recovered from last fall's knee surgery. Vilma is back in a 4-3 formation, which should provide a comfort zone for the former defensive rookie of the year, after the past two seasons in the Jets' 3-4. As down on Vilma as New York head coach Eric Mangini was, he's still a 25-year-old who brings both an aggressive playing style and great leadership to the field.

The Saints undoubtedly didn't want to lose center Jeff Faine, but the Bucs were willing to over-pay to wrest him away from their division rival. That's a loss, but given New Orleans' array of talent on offense, it shouldn't be a back-breaker. The Saints retained several key performers on offense, namely receivers Devery Henderson and David Patten, as well as running back Aaron Stecker. Henderson has shown inconsistent hands, but getting him back for 2008 at a reasonable $2 million was a deft move.

Signing defensive end Bobby McCray wasn't the biggest headline, but the ex-Jaguar isn't too far removed from a 10-sack season. More important, his presence allows the Saints to line up Charles Grant inside at tackle, which allows New Orleans to, in essence, play three defensive ends and become a much more athletic front four. That's a similar approach to what worked so well for the pass rush of the Super Bowl champion Giants last season. The Saints also upgraded their depth at their No. 1-need position, cornerback, signing ex-Patriot Randall Gay to at least compete for the nickelback role.



SI.com - Writers - Don Banks: Free agency winners, losers - Friday March 7, 2008 2:46PM

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