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TheOak 01-30-2014 01:04 PM

Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
(Triplett)

A position-by-position look at where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into the 2014 offseason -- ranked from 1-12 in order of the team’s need for upgrades or replacements.

Current depth chart:

TE Jimmy Graham. Age 27, unrestricted free agent.

FB Jed Collins. Age 27, restricted free agent.

TE Benjamin Watson. Age 33, signed through 2015. 2014 salary and bonuses: $1.3 million. 2014 salary-cap number: $1.7 million.

TE Josh Hill. Age 23, scheduled to become restricted free agent in 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $495,000. 2014 salary-cap number: $496,666.

Analysis:

First of all, the reason that I lumped these two positions together is because the Saints typically lump them together when shaping their roster. A lot of times their backup tight ends serve as backup fullbacks as well.

Secondly, I realize that I screwed up this ranking. I should have either ranked it No. 1 or further down the list at No. 11 or No. 12. I think re-signing Graham is the Saints’ No. 1 priority this offseason -- more important than adding reinforcements at any other position. However, I don’t think there’s any real risk of losing him since the Saints will use the franchise tag to keep him if needed.

And assuming the Saints do keep both Graham and restricted free agent Collins, I think they’re pretty well stocked at both positions going forward.

I’ve written extensively on Graham this month -- on whether he should be considered a tight end or receiver; on why I think he’s worthy of “receiver money” regardless; and on how I think the negotiations will most likely play out.

The bottom line is that I consider Graham the second most important player on the Saints’ roster behind quarterback Drew Brees. So it’s essential that they work out a long-term deal that makes everyone happy this offseason (which I believe will eventually happen -- but it may take a while).

I also expect the Saints to lock up Collins. They’ll probably have to offer him a one-year restricted free-agent tender worth more than $2 million to guarantee he doesn’t get away. But he’s worth it, even though the Saints are a pass-first team. Collins was playing exceptionally well down the stretch as a lead blocker in the run game. Perhaps they’ll aim for a long-term contract extension instead.

Watson is an ideal backup. He’s solid as a receiver, a blocker and a veteran leader -- and most importantly, he comes with an affordable price tag. And the Saints are high on Hill, who played extensively as an undrafted rookie this past season. Hill had his highs and lows during the year. But the team obviously showed trust in him, which bodes well for his future development.

Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback - New Orleans Saints Blog - ESPN

halloween 65 01-30-2014 01:19 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
I think we are good with Collins at FB. Watson is good depth , Hill is a good surprize. Now Graham, I hope Loomis don't overpay if he gets a contract, I like the ideal of two picks for him myself and not robbing the bank to keep him.

dizzle88 01-30-2014 06:54 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
I have a feeling austin johnson will replace jed collins soon

collins is good but in preseason austin looked like mike alstott with lance moores hands

halloween 65 01-30-2014 09:14 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzle88 (Post 576341)
I have a feeling austin johnson will replace jed collins soon

collins is good but in preseason austin looked like mike alstott with lance moores hands

What happened to Johnson, somehow I have overlooked this guy all together?

dizzle88 01-31-2014 05:39 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by halloween 65 (Post 576358)
What happened to Johnson, somehow I have overlooked this guy all together?

He went to our practice squad and was recently signed to a future contract

I have a good feeling he could be a hell of a player for us, just needs to learn the system more

lee909 01-31-2014 08:00 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
Am I the only one who thinks loosing Graham and Sproles would reshape the offense to be better and less predictable over the next two years?.
I have a awful feeling Loomis will vastly overpay for Graham over the length of his deal.

Crusader 01-31-2014 08:24 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
I hope we keep Collins and the 3 TEs. Watson was money, Graham is the best in the game today and Hill has great upside.

hagan714 01-31-2014 08:26 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
why draft one? not like we know how to us a traditional TE anyways.

we do not need a true full back here either hybrid only

Danno 01-31-2014 09:08 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
I'd like to see more of FB Austin Johnson. He looks like a hybrid FB/RB. Good feet, good hands, good balance. And he'd be 1/2 the price of Collins.

lee909 01-31-2014 09:11 AM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 8 TE/fullback
 
Sounds good to me.
If he has the ability to run and punch holes through the line he is well worth a roster spot.
I have wanted a big back for a couple of years now, a Brandon Jacobs type that can punch a hole on short goaline work.


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