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The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Just when I was beginning to feel better! The New Orleans Saints went into free agency in March with virtually no cap room. They came out of free agency with the consensus No. 1 free agent, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus ...

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Old 09-30-2014, 08:04 PM   #1
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The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Just when I was beginning to feel better!

The New Orleans Saints went into free agency in March with virtually no cap room.

They came out of free agency with the consensus No. 1 free agent, Buffalo Bills safety Jairus Byrd, who they signed on a six-year, $54-million contract.

They were able to pull this off because of two things: 1) they backloaded the money in Byrd's contract, which could be crippling down the line, but lets them stay under the salary cap this year, and 2) they traded, cut, or let a number of role players leave in free agency.

The Saints went all in. They decided Drew Brees only has a few years left, the roster is good enough now to compete for a Super Bowl, and the window for this team to win it all is rapidly closing. So they went for it and signed Byrd, salary cap be damned.

Now they're 1-3 after getting destroyed by the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. History says 1-3 teams miss the playoffs 85% of the time. To make matters worse, some of the role players they were forced to let go of are playing exceptionally well.

Here are the main guys they let leave. Some of them are tearing it up elsewhere:
Darren Sproles, running back (traded) Traded for a 5th-round pick. Now ranks 6th in the NFL in total yardage for the Philadelphia Eagles, with three touchdowns.
Malcolm Jenkins, safety (free agency) Signed with the Eagles for three years, $16.5 million . Has three interceptions in four games and a touchdown.
Lance Moore, wide receiver (cut) Signed with Pittsburgh. Injured for much of training camp but he's making his way back.
Brian de la Puente, center (free agency) Signed with Chicago. Started three of four games.
Roman Harper, safety (cut) Signed with Carolina. Started all four games, with one touchdown.

They lost depth and productivity at a number of key positions. None of these guys are stars (although Sproles is playing like one now), but they matter. It hurts that they have to play Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas when starting running back Mark Ingram got hurt instead of someone like Sproles.

There's also an opportunity cost here. Safety wasn't exactly the most pressing need for New Orleans going into the offseason, cornerback was. Instead of keeping Jenkins and paying a starting-level cornerback a decent salary, the Saints paid Byrd $54 million and took a flyer on Champ Bailey. When Bailey was promptly cut, they were left with a hole at one of the league's most important positions.

Because of the way the Byrd deal is structured, the Saints are going to be in salary cap hell for the foreseeable future. They already have $160 million in cap dollars committed for 2015, and $140 million committed for 2016. For better or worse, this is the team they have to work with for the next few years.


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Old 09-30-2014, 08:07 PM   #2
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Ouch!
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:07 PM   #3
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Last I checked there were 16 games in a season.
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Old 09-30-2014, 08:17 PM   #4
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Every year you lose a guy who goes on and does well somewhere else. And I don't think we are missing de la Puente.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:06 PM   #5
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Originally Posted by stickman View Post
Every year you lose a guy who goes on and does well somewhere else. And I don't think we are missing de la Puente.

And the DLP decision wasn't money-driven, since the team apparently could've signed him close to the vet minimum.
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Old 09-30-2014, 11:35 PM   #6
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

1 of 2 things could be true here

the system here does not work

or

getting released was just the wake up call they needed

in Jenkins case i go with the later

either way crying split milk at this point.

cue the kitty pics

Last edited by hagan714; 09-30-2014 at 11:37 PM..
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Old 10-01-2014, 04:30 AM   #7
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

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Old 10-01-2014, 05:00 AM   #8
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
1 of 2 things could be true here

the system here does not work

or

getting released was just the wake up call they needed

in Jenkins case i go with the later

either way crying split milk at this point.

cue the kitty pics
It would appear both options apply.
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Old 10-01-2014, 07:17 AM   #9
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

Signing Byrd to that big contract was a questionable decision, but I think I get what the thought process was. IMO the reason this looks so bad now is the miss on Champ Bailey. Robinson and White were suppose to be backups, with Baptiste the project CB to take over in two years. I can pretty much guarantee if the Saints knew how this would play out, they would have maybe locked up Jenkins for a couple years, and spent some money on a better CB solution.
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Old 10-01-2014, 09:05 AM   #10
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Re: The Saints Let Go Of A Bunch Of Players To Sign A $54-Million Free Agent, And It's Coming Back To Haunt Them

The only FA at this time I have on the Radar for 2015

Byron Maxwell CB Seahawks

But after signing Bird I do not see anything this big happening. But we are talking Mickey here so you never know.

A move like this would allow you work on other areas of the defense. both CB on an island 80% of the time

come on Drew really redo that contract.

Cap friendly extension all around for every one
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Last edited by hagan714; 10-01-2014 at 09:08 AM..
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