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WhoDat!656 02-26-2013 09:24 PM

New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
Will Smith obviously isn't worth $10 million per year anymore. Jon Vilma isn't worth $6 million. And as much as it pains me to say it as a longtime Roman Harper apologist, the New Orleans Saints safety isn't worth the $5.35 million in salary and bonuses he's scheduled to receive this season.

New Orleans Saints defenders Jonathan Vilma (51), Brodrick Bunkley (77) and Will Smith (91) help to stop Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) during a goal line stand at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, October 21, 2012. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Especially not with this team right now, which so desperately needs an extreme makeover on defense and has so little salary-cap space to work with.

But where should the Saints draw the line? Those are the difficult financial and emotional decisions the team will need to make during the next two weeks before the start of the NFL's new league year and the free-agent signing period March 12.

If the price was right - say $3 million per year or less - I would absolutely make room for all three guys. Their veteran leadership, smarts and popularity within the locker room still has some genuine value as the Saints make their dramatic switch to a 3-4 system and new coordinator Rob Ryan.

And I especially think Harper can be a big asset as an attacking play-maker, like he was under former coordinator Gregg Williams (there's that old apologist in me, again).

But depending on whether the three players are willing to take such a deep cut, it might indeed be time for the Saints to simply rip off the Band-Aid.

If ever there was a time to blow up an old defense and start fresh with a new one, this is it in New Orleans.

I do still like a lot of the defensive players on the Saints' roster as "complementary" players (which I will rank from top to bottom in a separate post this afternoon).

And I do genuinely believe the defense can bounce back quickly to at least sniff middle-of-the-pack status.

What they don't have are any of the dynamic difference-makers that can routinely disrupt an opposing offense. What they need are impact players like Smith and Vilma were in their primes.

And even though it might not make perfect fiscal sense to go all-in on that type of high-priced player in free agency, no options should be off the table right now.

A pass-rusher like the Dallas Cowboys' Anthony Spencer or the Houston Texans' Connor Barwin would sure make all the rest of the Saints' window dressing look a little prettier.

It is possible for the Saints to squeeze in such a player under the salary cap. Just last year, for example, the Saints signed guard Ben Grubbs to a five-year, $36 million contract that had a first-year cap value of only $2.7 million. Obviously, that's just delaying an inevitable future price tag, but it might be worth it while the Saints are still in their championship window.

Regardless of whether the Saints opt for that approach or decide to go for three or four second-tier free agents like they've done in recent years, any kind of makeover will require cap space that they don't currently have available.

It probably will require the Saints to bid farewell to one, two or all three of those veteran guys that were at the heart of their Super Bowl championship team.

New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper | NOLA.com

saintsfan1976 02-26-2013 09:36 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
I'd love to see what Mickey Loomis's white board looks like.

Luda34 02-26-2013 10:08 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
I love all those guys but at this point you have to do whats best for the team. If they don't want to restructure there contracts than kick rocks. I'm a loyal guy but I hate to see my team lose the way they did last year.

Leighton B 02-26-2013 11:32 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
RIP OFF THE BANDAGE or was it even a gauze they were terrible last year HARPER HAS TO GO ESPECIALLY IF U CAN TRADE HIM. Restructure only Smith and like u said 3 mil is tha max.

Rugby Saint II 02-28-2013 02:59 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
Clean out Smiths locker and put his stuff on the curb. Restructure Harper and ask vilma to be a back up with a salary that represents his current value.

NinthWardJay 02-28-2013 03:02 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
This may be off topic but i love how some analysts say that they dont think Bunkley would be a good fit in the 3-4 system.

Seer1 02-28-2013 05:38 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by saintsfan1976 (Post 482262)
I'd love to see what Mickey Loomis's white board looks like.

Bet it ain't very white right now.

Danno 02-28-2013 05:45 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NinthWardJay (Post 482771)
This may be off topic but i love how some analysts say that they dont think Bunkley would be a good fit in the 3-4 system.

Yeah, I laugh at that too. He graded the best run stuffing DT in the entire NFL playing the 3-4 in Denver.

My guess is that maybe they don't see him playing 60/16 as a NT. That I can accept. He'll likely need to be in at least a 2-man rotation if not 3, but I think in todays NFL thats the rule, not the exception.

Danno 02-28-2013 05:46 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
And BTTT:

I'd be elated if they all re-sgned for 3mill/year. That works for me and honestly thats probably their market value right now.

jeanpierre 03-04-2013 05:55 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints should draw the line around $3 million per year with Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper
 
None of those players are now worth 3 mil per annum...

With Smith - it's BEEN time to move on; about four years ago...

Harper can't cover an old woman in a wheel chair (and probably would have to borrow her O2); we have better safeties on the roster now...

Vilma's game hasn't been there since the Superbowl Run and his knee will limit his play to less than 50% snaps, for a salary cap-crunched team, he's not affordable...


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