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papz 01-13-2014 09:53 AM

A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
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The salary cap will once again be a hurdle for the New Orleans Saints in 2014. They're already $12.5 million over the projected cap of $126.6 million, according to ESPN's John Clayton. And that's even before signing unrestricted tight end Jimmy Graham, who will certainly become the highest-paid tight end in NFL history.

Recent history suggests the Saints will still find a way to keep their core players and even add one or two key free agent signings. But it will require both some creative restructuring of contracts and some difficult decisions to part ways with some longtime veterans.

Here's a breakdown of some of the key decisions looming this offseason:

FREE AGENTS:

Unrestricted free agent starters: TE Jimmy Graham, RT Zach Strief, C Brian de la Puente, S Malcolm Jenkins, OLB Parys Haralson, K Shayne Graham.

Unrestricted free agent reserves: WR Robert Meachem, OT Charles Brown, QB Luke McCown, LB Jonathan Vilma, LB Will Herring, LB Ramon Humber, LB Keyunta Dawson, DE Kenyon Coleman, S Jordan Pugh

Restricted free agents: FB Jed Collins, WR Joe Morgan, S Rafael Bush, DE Tom Johnson

Thoughts: First of all, this is not a bad list, with only four full-time players on it. Teams, including the Saints, have faced much worse in past years.

The only no-brainer who will definitely be re-signed is Graham. He will be back at any cost, even if it means a fight over his franchise tag designation (tight end vs. wide receiver). It would be a win-win for both sides if they would avoid the franchise tag altogether and structure a cap-friendly long-term deal. But it's obviously possible that the negotiations may go on longer than expected, because Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and agent Jimmy Sexton will be breaking new ground on this deal.

After Graham, I would put Strief, de la Puente and Jenkins in the same boat. I think the Saints like all of them (Strief and Jenkins are both captains) and would very much like to have all of them back at the right price. But I wouldn't be shocked to see the Saints let any of them go if they get bigger offers elsewhere (like Scott Fujita, Jonathan Goodwin, Carl Nicks, Jermon Bushrod, etc., from years past).

I could also see the Saints bringing back guys like Haralson, Meachem and a handful of others from this list if the price is bare bones.

Another interesting name on this list is kicker Shayne Graham. He looked like a lock for a 2014 roster spot after being a playoff hero in Round 1. Then he missed both of his field-goal attempts at Seattle. I still like his chances of coming back and at least competing for the job. All kickers will miss occasionally, but I've got to think the Saints liked what they saw from him as a cool-headed veteran with a lot of experience under his belt.

As for the restricted free agents, I could see all of them coming back -- especially Collins and Bush. They might have to give those guys second-round tenders, though, which will probably cost more than $2 million each.

Read more: A look at the New Orleans Saints' 2014 roster decisions - ESPN

Danno 01-13-2014 09:57 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Well done. ESPN doesn't deserve Mike Triplett.

exile 01-13-2014 10:03 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
I would put Jenkins higher on that list. The fact that he can move between S and CB helps him plus his upside may be realized sooner rather than later.

halloween 65 01-13-2014 10:40 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
I would let Jenkins walk, walk, walk.

exile 01-13-2014 10:42 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by halloween 65 (Post 573277)
I would let Jenkins walk, walk, walk.

Why? Do you think he will want to much $$$. With a decent contract he is still better than 75% of the Safeties in the league. Take teams like San Fran, Seattle and Carolina and their safeties are helped by those D-Lines/LBs. Of course they look pretty. And Seattle has better CBs that help their Safeties way too much. Put Jenk on one of those teams and he would be a superstar.

WhoDatFan26 01-13-2014 11:01 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by exile (Post 573278)
Why? Do you think he will want to much $$$. With a decent contract he is still better than 75% of the Safeties in the league. Take teams like San Fran, Seattle and Carolina and their safeties are helped by those D-Lines/LBs. Of course they look pretty. And Seattle has better CBs that help their Safeties way too much. Put Jenk on one of those teams and he would be a superstar.

Thank You. Malcolm Jenkins is far from the problem on our team. Getting rid of him will only cause other problems. We need him back.

TheOak 01-13-2014 11:14 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Jenkins has been paid as a top 20 S in this league, anyone thinks he has preformed as a Top 20 S?

lee909 01-13-2014 11:18 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Id have him back at the right price but Bush is a more pressing issue.

exile 01-13-2014 11:21 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheOak (Post 573288)
Jenkins has been paid as a top 20 S in this league, anyone thinks he has preformed as a Top 20 S?

Can you name 19 better Safeties without researching them?

jeanpierre 01-13-2014 11:22 AM

Re: A look at Saints' 2014 roster decisions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by exile (Post 573278)
Why? Do you think he will want to much $$$. With a decent contract he is still better than 75% of the Safeties in the league. Take teams like San Fran, Seattle and Carolina and their safeties are helped by those D-Lines/LBs. Of course they look pretty. And Seattle has better CBs that help their Safeties way too much. Put Jenk on one of those teams and he would be a superstar.

Jenkins' mistackles will be his undoing; can't have the backstop whiffing that much...


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