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A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The signing of Drew Brees in 2006 by the New Orleans Saints will go down as one of the best free-agent acquisitions in NFL history. There's little argument to be made to the contrary and Brees' success is one of ...

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Old 02-28-2013, 07:43 PM   #1
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The signing of Drew Brees in 2006 by the New Orleans Saints will go down as one of the best free-agent acquisitions in NFL history. There's little argument to be made to the contrary and Brees' success is one of the prime reasons NFL teams focus so hard on free agency.

Last season, the Saints seemingly used free agency more vigorously as a tool to improve the team than since then-rookie Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis flooded the roster with free-agent signees in 2006 as part of the rebuilding process.

The Saints signed high-priced talent like guard Ben Grubbs, linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley last offseason to long-term contracts despite the team or the players knowing the punishments of the bounty scandal. And the jury is still out on whether those moves will pay off in the long run for the Saints.

Making any sort of splash in this year's free-agent market would be unexpected for the Saints considering the team is trying to pry itself below the salary cap going into free agency as talks with other teams' free agents begin March 9 with signings to begin March 12.

But looking back on some of the offseason free-agent signings by the Saints since Payton arrived in New Orleans in 2006 (not including rookie free agents or re-signing their own free agents), some of the more lauded signings didn't pan out, while some of the underrated signings turned into gems.

Here's a rewind of some of the notable Saints free-agent pickups since 2006:

2006 - Brees, Scott Fujita, Anthony Simmons, Mark Campbell, Billy Miller, Terrance Copper, Rob Petitti, Danny Clark, Chris Horn, Omar Stoutmire, Curtis Deloatch, Jay Foreman, Tommy Polley

We all know Brees' accomplishments, and Fujita forever will be a fan favorite for his four years in New Orleans in helping guide the Saints to a Super Bowl title.

Campbell stuck with the Saints for three seasons as their primary No. 2 tight end. The Saints released Miller during training camp, but he re-signed later in 2006 and was with Campbell through the next two seasons.

The Saints tried just about any linebacker they could find in signing veterans like Simmons, Polley and Foreman. None of them worked out as the Saints acquired Scott Shanle and Mark Simoneau in training camp trades to start alongside Fujita, while Clark added some depth as the team signed him just before the start if the season.

Polley was coming off his best season in 2005 with Baltimore, but landed on injured reserve by the end of training camp. Foreman was a tackling machine for the Texans with 141 total tackles in 2002 and 135 in 2003, but he didn't make it out of training camp either. After taking a slew of first-team snaps during the offseason workouts and minicamps, Simmons didn't even show up for training camp and that ended his stint.

The Saints picked up Copper, Petitti and Deloatch on the same day off the waiver wire after the NFL's final cut-down day of training camp. Copper stuck with the Saints for a couple of seasons, mostly thanks to his special teams prowess. Pettiti served as a backup tackle during that season.

Deloatch may be the most remembered of the waiver bunch. He only played one season with the Saints, but he was involved in one of the most memorable plays in Saints history. Deloatch scooped up the ball after Steve Gleason's blocked punt against the Falcons during the first game back in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina and scored a touchdown setting off one of the most hair-raising ovations ever exuded by Saints fans.

Stoutmire started nine games at cornerback for the Saints during his one season in New Orleans. Horn was beaten out by a little-known wide receiver named Marques Colston for a roster spot.

2007 - Brian Simmons, David Patten, Eric Johnson, Jason David, Kevin Kaesviharn, Troy Evans, Kendrick Clancy, Dhani Jones

The Saints gave up a fourth-round draft pick and paid several millions
of dollars for David. He was exploited by opponents starting with his first game when Peyton Manning, David's former teammate in Indianapolis, torched David. It never got any better for the cornerback as David struggled badly throughout most of his time in New Orleans.

Clancy and Patten saw significant playing time with the Saints and were productive at times.

Patten caught 54 passes for 792 yards and three TDs in 2007 and filled in nicely after Joe Horn was released after 2006. Patten struggled with injuries in 2008 and his career ended after that season.

Clancy was a rotational defensive tackle in 2007 and became a starter in 2008. He had one of his best seasons in the NFL with 34 total tackles and two sacks. Clancy fell down the depth chart in 2009 and the Saints cut ties with him during the season.

Simmons was brought in to win a starting job at linebacker, and he never did. Jones stuck with the Saints for two months in the offseason only to be cut at the start of training camp. Jones landed in Cincinnati after being cut and started for the Bengals from 2007-2010.

Kaesviharn intercepted two passes against the Saints in 2006, but didn't find much success with the Saints in his two seasons in New Orleans despite starting 14 games during that span.

Johnson, who's now most known as the husband of Jessica Simpson, only lasted one season in New Orleans as he was released less than a week after the Saints acquired Jeremy Shockey.

Evans became a staple on special teams, like he was during his previous few seasons in Houston. He was probably one of the better signings for the Saints leading up to the 2007 season.

2008 - Randall Gay, Bobby McCray, Dan Morgan, Aaron Glenn, Mark Brunell

Gay and McCray served as solid backups for the Saints during their first two seasons, and most specifically in the 2009 Super Bowl run.

Gay was the Saints' primary nickel cornerback for two seasons before a concussion in 2010 ended his career. McCray was a situational pass rusher who tailed off a bit in 2009, but McCray's lasting feat was knocking Kurt Warner out of the NFC divisional game in the 2009 postseason.

Brunell didn't play much, which was obviously a good thing meaning Brees was healthy. Brunell did serve as an important sounding board for Brees in the quarterback meetings, though.

Morgan was another low-risk, high-reward type signing, and it didn't pan out as Morgan retired two months after the Saints signed him.

The Saints also caught Glenn at the end of his career. Glenn played four games, but injuries landed him on injured reserve in late November and his career ended after that season.

New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper's excellent 2009 season helped propel the team on the Super Bowl XLIV run.Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

2009 - Darren Sharper, Jabari Greer, Darnell Dinkins, Anthony Hargrove, Pierson Prioleau, Paul Spicer, Heath Evans, Dan Campbell

The Saints made one of their more unexpected free agent hits of franchise history with the signing of Sharper, even though the success was really only for one season. Sharper inked a one-year deal and made the most of it with nine interceptions with three of them being returned for touchdowns. Sharper launched the Saints into one of the most opportunistic defenses in the league in 2009.

Greer was one of the more unheralded signings in the NFL during the 2009 offseason, but it turned into one of the better finds of that season and beyond as Greer has been the most consistent cover corner for the Saints in the last four seasons.

Hargrove, at least in 2009, also became a valuable piece to the Saints' defensive puzzle in the team's run to Super Bowl XLIV with five sacks and 42 total tackles. Hargrove only lasted one more season and is now more known for being connected to the Saints bounty scandal.

Evans was productive in 2009 until he sustained a torn ACL near the midpoint of the season. The fullback played one more season in New Orleans, his last in the NFL.

Prioleau served a niche as a special teamer for two seasons. Dinkins served as basically a blocking tight end in his only season in New Orleans. The Saints cut Spicer during training camp, but returned late in the season just in time for the playoffs. Campbell landed on injured reserve during training camp and never played another down in the NFL.

2010 - Alex Brown, Jimmy Wilkerson, Clint Ingram

The Saints were on the wrong end of success in free agency after winning Super Bowl XLIV. The team could only sign a free agent player once it lost one of its own free agents because of the rules of the uncapped season. So the team focused in on re-signing many of its own players instead of exploring free agent because that's essentially all the Saints could do.

And as you can see by the free-agent headliners of 2010, the Saints didn't exactly make any sort of splash to help the team. Brown was on the downside of his career and only played one season with the Saints.

Wilkerson and Ingram were both coming off injuries. Wilkerson at least contributed at times for the Saints during his one season, while Ingram never touched the practice field. He missed all of OTAs, minicamp and training camp before landing on the physically unable to perform list right before the season. The Saints released Ingram once he was eligible to leave the PUP list.

2011 - Darren Sproles, Olin Kreutz, Shaun Rogers, Aubrayo Franklin, John Gilmore, Will Herring, Turk McBride, John Kasay, Korey Hall

The Saints struck gold with signing Sproles as the running back was arguably the best free-agent signing in the NFL during the 2011 offseason. Sproles has been a difference-maker throughout his two seasons in New Orleans.

Yet while the Saints went after some bigger names on the market outside of Sproles, none of them could be considered a rousing success.

The Saints signed Rogers and Franklin, both of whom were considered two of the better defensive tackles on the market, to one-year deals and neither player was retained after 2011. McBride never lived up to expectations as a situational pass rusher as injuries plagued him the past two seasons.

Essentially, the Saints panicked once Jonathan Goodwin left for San Francisco and signed Kreutz. The longtime Bears center didn't work at all as Kreutz was demoted and replaced by Brian de la Puente. As a result, Kreutz basically quit and left the team shortly thereafter.

Herring had his shot at winning a starting job at linebacker in 2011, but lost out on the job and has played mostly special teams the last two seasons. Hall was also a special teams player as Jed Collins won the fullback job. Gilmore served his role as a blocking tight end for one season.

Kasay may have been the most vital signing outside of Sproles as the veteran kicker replaced the injured Garrett Hartley. Kasay scored a career-high 147 points for the Saints in 2011, his last season in the NFL.

2012 - Curtis Lofton, Ben Grubbs, Brodrick Bunkley, David Hawthorne, Chris Chamberlain, Elbert Mack, Rafael Bush

Lofton and Grubbs were probably the most successful in their first seasons with the Saints. Bunkley improved once he was used primarily in running situations. Hawthorne began the season with nagging injuries and never really caught on with the defense, and it will be interesting to see if he's a better fit with Rob Ryan's defense.

Mack started playing well late in 2012, but is a free agent. Bush began a special teams player and saw more significant playing time on defense late in 2012 where he showed signs of promise.

Chamberlain tore his ACL in training camp and missed all of last season.

Lofton, Grubbs, Bunkley, Hawthorne and Chamberlain all signed long-term deals and seemingly are in the Saints' plans for this year and beyond. Lofton, Grubbs and Hawthorne have restructured their contracts this offseason to help the Saints open up salary cap space.

A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006 | NOLA.com
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Last edited by papz; 02-28-2013 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

That 2007 free agents year I need to talk to Sean and Lommis what were they thinking with Jason David and Kevin Kaesviharn them to sorry muther wow wow my bad guys all most went on the deep in.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:39 AM   #3
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

Som hits and some misses. The bad ones were really bad, the good ones were great thou!
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

Let's hope for more hits than misses this year.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:02 PM   #5
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
Let's hope for more hits than misses this year.
Yeah we need to add 3-4 solid guys and hope to find a diamond in the rough.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

Originally Posted by Crusader View Post
Yeah we need to add 3-4 solid guys and hope to find a diamond in the rough.
Another draft like 2006 and I'll be back on board the Loomis draft bandwagon.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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Re: A look at the New Orleans Saints' free-agent signings since 2006

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Another draft like 2006 and I'll be back on board the Loomis draft bandwagon.
Bingo Danno!
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