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pakowitz 01-06-2003 07:35 PM

Free agency free-for-all?
The Saints figure to have around $2 million of dead money under the salary cap for the 2003 season.

The team's free agents include: K John Carney (expected to be re-signed after ranking third among kickers in scoring and making 88.6 percent of his attempts), P Toby Gowin (team has flirted with replacing him for the last two seasons but could return), QB Jake Delhomme (among most interesting decisions for Saints, he's likely to be courted by other teams but could give home-state team a hometown discount),

RB Fred McAfee (leader of one of top special teams units will be back), CB Ken Irvin (Saints want him back after filling No. 3 and occasionally No. 2 roles), S Sammy Knight (will be too expensive to pursue, especially after speed liabilities have been thoroughly exposed),

CB Fakhir Brown (Saints could bring him back as special teams and role player), MLB Bryan Cox (limitations on the field could affect his leadership potential), MLB Charlie Clemons (precipitous drop-off in production means he's not likely to return; his poor instincts hinder his performance in the middle),

C Jerry Fontenot (wants to return and the Saints will probably bring him back), G Wally Williams (still a quality backup, but four-game substance abuse suspension was troubling; could return), C/G Bubba Miller (basically spent the season rehabilitating ankle/foot injury and Saints would like him to return),

T Scott Sanderson (valuable backup capable of playing guard, too; likely to return), TE Lamont Hall (limited as a receiver, but Haslett loves his blocking and special teams contributions), WR Jake Reed (stumbled in the season finale; team may look to upgrade No. 4 spot with someone younger at risk of losing leadership), DE Willie Whitehead (one of Saints most reliable defensive lineman and they'd like him back).

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