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WhoDat!656 03-22-2013 04:58 PM

So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
The biggest free agent moves in the NFC South may all still be to come. The New Orleans Saints are wrapping up a visit Friday with free agent outside linebacker Victor Butler, who could help fill their most glaring defensive need. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still mulling a blockbuster trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis. And the Atlanta Falcons are reportedly kicking the tires on star pass rusher Osi Umenyiora.

So far, though, I'd say those three teams have been running neck-and-neck in the free agency race, with the Carolina Panthers lagging in a distant fourth.

The Buccaneers (safety Dashon Goldson) and Falcons (tailback Steven Jackson) have made the biggest free-agent splashes in the division. But they also suffered some significant losses (most notably Tampa Bay defensive end Michael Bennett and Atlanta defensive end John Abraham - with Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes still unsigned).

Here's a breakdown of how the teams have been reshaped so far this offseason:

SAINTS

Added: CB Keenan Lewis, TE Benjamin Watson

Lost: OT Jermon Bushrod, QB Chase Daniel, LB Jonathan Casillas, DE Turk McBride, TE David Thomas, CB Johnny Patrick

Assessment: So far I think the Saints have only broken even, at best. But that will change if they add a quality pass rusher (most likely Butler) or one or two other impact players, which I still expect to happen.

I hate the Bushrod loss because I think he's underrated and he creates a gigantic question mark at a position the Saints haven't had to worry about over the past four years. I wish they would have found a way to sign him to an extension around $6 million per year before he hit the open market. But I understand why they balked at paying him more than $7 million per year, and many analysts seem to agree with the decision.

Though it's comparing apples to oranges, the Saints arguably got more bang for their buck with Lewis, an up-and-coming young cornerback at roughly $5 million per year. And he should help a defense that needs as many upgrades as it can get.

Watson seems like a solid addition. Losing Daniel will hurt a little, but the Saints should be able to find a cheap alternative. None of the other losses are significant.

The Saints' "grade" will be incomplete until we see what they do at left tackle and pass rusher. Butler would be a great start, though I don't understand why the Saints haven't also pursued proven veterans like Elvis Dumervil, Dwight Freeney, Abraham, James Harrison or Shaun Phillips more aggressively. Obviously, most of those guys are on the downside of their careers, but that didn't stop the Saints from looking hard at veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (who would be an interesting gamble, even though he doesn't fill their greatest need).

And the Saints have reportedly shown some interest in veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie. He seems like he would come with some pluses and minuses but obviously helped the Baltimore Ravens win a Super Bowl. And he would help cushion the blow of losing Bushrod. I imagine the Saints will add some form of reliable veteran tackle as an insurance policy at some point.

So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | NOLA.com

dizzle88 03-22-2013 05:00 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
Bucs got stronger with dashon goldson who i think we should have tried to make a play for, if we can sign butler and asomugha it would be incredible

WillSaints81 03-22-2013 05:07 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
I thought we were earlier one of the teams that had a shot at Osi a while back, I do not want him in Atlanta.

Leighton B 03-22-2013 07:22 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
DUDE YOUR DELUSIONAL but that's ok Falcons and Bucs are ahead
we are right there with Carolina! BUT THAT'S OK FOR RIGHT NOW THE DRAFT IS LOADED WITH WHAT WE NEED AND WHAT WE CAN USE! I do believe we still sign a Butler or another OLB or sit pass rusher then we will sign Namdi or draft a CB! After that we trade or cut Roman Harper THIS IS MY MAIN CONCERN HARPER IN OUR SECONDARY! Unless he takes a paycut and Ryan can make use of him #blitzing him like G.W. did!

Leighton B 03-22-2013 07:29 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
BUT ROMAN HARPER CANNOT BE IN COVERAGE IT'S A DISASTER!
Having said that he has a knack for timing runs and snaps for blitzing the run and pass so he has value just not 3 down 5.5mil a yr type of value he's being accounted for right now: They haven't even contacted his agent so that tells me there's no negotiating in this and he's either going to be given that right b4 training camp ultimatum or he's getting traded or possibly attempted to trade then cut!

NinthWardJay 03-22-2013 07:53 PM

If we are able to get Nnamdi that would mean that our starting cornerbacks are 6'0 and 6'2.... It's almost hard for me to believe lol

foreverfan 03-22-2013 07:57 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
I hate the fact that the Falcons still have Gonzales.

onebyone 03-22-2013 09:29 PM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
They don't give enough credit to the importance of losing Johnny Patrick.

Jamessr 03-23-2013 11:08 AM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by foreverfan (Post 489251)
I hate the fact that the Falcons still have Gonzales.

I like Tony but he's going to have a Brett Favre type year...
He'll regret coming back because it will be ugly

UK_WhoDat 03-23-2013 11:12 AM

Re: So far, it's a three-way tie in free agency among New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by foreverfan (Post 489251)
I hate the fact that the Falcons still have Gonzales.

+1


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