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TheOak 02-17-2014 01:56 PM

Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
(Mike Tripplet)

The New Orleans Saints have 13 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 11, including four full-time starters. Hereís a breakdown on center Brian de la Puente:

De la Puente
Position: Starting center
Age: 28
Height: 6-3
Weight: 306

Scouting report: De la Puente could be in high demand this offseason as a proven starter who has played at a high level for the last three years. Like the rest of the Saintsí offensive line, he struggled at times during the first half of the 2013 season in both his run blocking and pass protection. But he finished very well during the second half of the year and in the playoffs -- returning to the consistent level we saw in 2011-12.

De la Puente isnít a mauler up front, but heís got a good combination of power and athleticism -- which has served him well in the Saintsí versatile offense that relies so much on pass protection and screen passes. And his experience as a signal-caller for such a sophisticated passing offense will only enhance his market value.

De la Puente certainly fit right in on a Saints offensive line filled with diamonds in the rough. He joined the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Cal in 2008, but he bounced around with San Francisco, Kansas City, Carolina and Seattle before landing on the Saintsí practice squad in 2010. He then earned the starting job over veteran Olin Kreutz early in the 2011 season.

Projection: This should sound like a broken record by now with the Saintsí free agents -- I think theyíd love to have de la Puente back, but only if the price is right. And that might not work out for them.

Iím tempted to predict that de la Puente could earn a deal similar to the three-year, $10.9 million contract the San Francisco 49ers gave Jonathan Goodwin when they stole him away from New Orleans three years ago. But itís possible a team will pay even more for such a proven commodity since quality centers are hard to find on the free-agent market. Most analysts rank de la Puente No. 2 in this yearís class behind Clevelandís standout Alex Mack.

If the Saints do lose de la Puente, they could audition another undrafted free agent find in the role -- Tim Lelito, who showed promise as a backup guard last year. Or they might look to develop a future starter with an early draft pick. Or they could sign a more affordable veteran free agent in the short term -- maybe even Goodwin, who is now back on the market.
Read more
Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente - New Orleans Saints Blog - ESPN

halloween 65 02-17-2014 02:16 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Draft a center if DLP is #2 the FA market is way to thin. We need a stud up front.

exile 02-17-2014 02:40 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
I haven't seen a video of Brees standing on a desk saying "Sign DLP!". Interesting observation.

ChrisXVI 02-17-2014 03:02 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
If we go into next season with Lelito and Harris starting on our O Line then we're in trouble. I'm just not sure if I'd choose to resign de la Puente or Strief if I had to choose one or the other. I guess the cheaper one.

Danno 02-17-2014 03:15 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisXVI (Post 578457)
If we go into next season with Lelito and Harris starting on our O Line then we're in trouble. I'm just not sure if I'd choose to resign de la Puente or Strief if I had to choose one or the other. I guess the cheaper one.

If we want to keep Jimmy Graham that scenario may very well happen.

I think we'll sign at least one of them.

ChrisXVI 02-17-2014 03:25 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 578459)
If we want to keep Jimmy Graham that scenario may very well happen.



I think we'll sign at least one of them.


I'd be shocked if neither one was here next season. I think we'd see a 2013 Failclowns type of collapse of our O-Line if we went with that much inexperience.

halloween 65 02-17-2014 03:55 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisXVI (Post 578460)
I'd be shocked if neither one was here next season. I think we'd see a 2013 Failclowns type of collapse of our O-Line if we went with that much inexperience.

We would still have Evens and Grubbs? Add a stud C. We have a Armstead protecting the blind side. That leaves Strief position which is questionable without a contract? Any FA avalible ?? Thats where Grubbs come from and has played well enough?

blackangold 02-17-2014 04:03 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisXVI (Post 578460)
I'd be shocked if neither one was here next season. I think we'd see a 2013 Failclowns type of collapse of our O-Line if we went with that much inexperience.

Strongly disagree.

The Saints philosophy has never been to spend big money on the line. The only o-line position the saints pay for are the guards. Strife and DLP are both goners; if we bring back Jimmy that's the price we pay (I don't think we should waste money on Jimmy either but that's for another post). Harris is more than prepared for the RT spot; he did well against NE and has been in the offense for 3 years. Lelito played the entire preseason at center and although he was awful as a guard he should have some experience at center.

We are going to have a cheap line this year, but cheap means young and athletic. I predict a better running game making the PA pass more of a threat which will make our offense look like 2011 all over again.

ChrisXVI 02-17-2014 04:10 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
Ok... Call me crazy but I just don't see starting next season with Lelito, Harris and a left tackle who has only played in a handful of games starting on our O-Line as a good thing.

papz 02-17-2014 04:45 PM

Re: Free-agent spotlight: C Brian de la Puente
 
I would like to see De La Puente at 4 years for 10 million coming back to us.


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