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Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints aren't expected to be big spenders in free agency, but that doesn't mean they won't be aggressive. As they've done in recent years, they will try to find good value in the second and third tiers ...

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
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The New Orleans Saints aren't expected to be big spenders in free agency, but that doesn't mean they won't be aggressive. As they've done in recent years, they will try to find good value in the second and third tiers of free agency.


New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) is forced to shovel the ball off for an incompletion as San Francisco 49ers nose tackle Ricky Jean Francois (95) puts pressure on him during the NFC Divisional Playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on Sunday, January 14, 2012.

Below are my top five realistic targets that could both energize the Saints' defense and fit into their budget:

1. OLB VICTOR BUTLER, Dallas Cowboys

Butler makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. He worked with new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Dallas. He's a young backup (age 25) who has shown flashes of pass-rush ability with 11 sacks in four seasons while playing behind stars DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. He would help fill the Saints' biggest need. He seems ready for a bigger role. And he shouldn't break the bank.

2. DL RICKY JEAN-FRANCOIS, San Francisco 49ers

Another young backup ready to be promoted into a starring role, Jean-Francois (age 26) would be an especially great fit for a Saints team that is transitioning to a 3-4 defense. The former LSU standout has the versatility to play end or tackle in a 3-4, as he did in San Francisco. The Saints have shown interest in Jean-Francois, according to a source. However, he's expected to draw a lot of interest from teams in free agency, which could force someone to overpay. ... A couple of veteran linemen who might come at a good price include the Chicago Bears' Israel Idonije and the New York Jets' Mike DeVito.

3. OLB CONNOR BARWIN, Houston Texans

Barwin had a disappointing 2012 season with just three sacks after a breakout 2011 year with 11.5 sacks. But the potential is obviously there for the 26-year-old. And now the asking price might be more reasonable. ... If the Saints decide to go for a proven veteran at a discount rate instead of a younger pass rusher, there are a number of intriguing options, including Dwight Freeney, John Abraham, James Harrison and a guy I really like that isn't getting much attention - the San Diego Chargers' Shaun Phillips.

4. CB CARY WILLIAMS, Baltimore Ravens

The veteran cornerback market is flooded right now, which could lower the price tag for one or more solid free agents. Williams, 28, is one of those guys after being a solid starter for the last two years. It's even possible that Atlanta Falcons standout Brent Grimes could come at a discount rate if he doesn't get signed earlier (could the Saints steal a key player from their rival again, like they did with linebacker Curtis Lofton last year?). The Pittsburgh Steelers' Keenan Lewis and the Jacksonville Jaguars' Derek Cox are two more solid options if the price is right.

5. CB MIKE JENKINS, Dallas Cowboys

Actually, I don't know if Jenkins should be at the top of this list or scratched off it completely. It depends on Ryan's scouting report since Jenkins was so inconsistent with the Cowboys. Jenkins, who turns 28 this month, battled injuries during his time in Dallas and never lived up to lofty expectations. But he has shown talent and potential, so the Saints might decide to roll the dice. ... The Saints may also seek Ryan's advice on recently-released Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh, among other cheaper Dallas castoffs.

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #2
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

Basically anybody off that list but I like what Butler brings to the table. Give me Shaun Phillips too..........there look like a few 2nd tier players ready to take that next step.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:01 PM   #4
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

It's amazing that in a passing league so many of the solid CBs are hitting the market.
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:15 AM   #5
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

Since we are moving to a 3-4 defense, what's so bad about going after a Dwight Freeney or a James Harrison? And also add a 2nd tier corner?
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Old 03-13-2013, 10:48 AM   #6
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

Connor Barwin would be a really nice addition, but like Rugby already said, basically anyone listed in that article would be fine by me - well except maybe the old timers like Harrison and Abraham.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:19 PM   #7
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

"The veteran cornerback market is flooded right now, which could lower the price tag for one or more solid free agents."

Sounds promising
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

Avoid Jenkins like the plague. Living in Dallas, I've seen my fair share of that guy, and he is Patrick Robinson part deux (and that's NOT a good thing).
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:21 PM   #9
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Re: Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense

I loathe & love this time of year. SO much change so much loss & so much gain.
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