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Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; How & Why Saints Should Acquire a Top 5 Pick: The New Orleans Saints are not going to draft Randy Gregory, Dorial Green-Beckham or Marcus Peters. Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have made broad, sweeping changes to the culture, atmosphere ...

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Old 04-28-2015, 12:11 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

How & Why Saints Should Acquire a Top 5 Pick:

The New Orleans Saints are not going to draft Randy Gregory, Dorial Green-Beckham or Marcus Peters. Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have made broad, sweeping changes to the culture, atmosphere and locker room leadership this off season with a strong emphasis on professionalism and performance. Gregory, Green-Beckham and Peters do not exemplify the leadership and maturity Payton and Loomis insist on having inside the Saints facilities, on the practice fields and away from the game. Therefore, the Saints will not draft any one of these three perceived character risks in this year’s draft.

I believe it’s in the Saints best interests to trade DE Cameron Jordan, DT Broderick Bunkley and SS Rafael Bush – and possibly more – to a team in the top 5 of this year’s draft. Here’s why.

Jordan is expecting top-end money similar to that of Robert Quinn who received a four-year deal with almost $42M guaranteed with about $66M in potential earnings. Jordan is making $7M this season through his fifth-year option while his counterpart at RDE, Junior Gallette, is enjoying a four-year agreement that is worth up to $41.5M with about $17M guaranteed. Various NFL media reporters state Jordan and his agent are in discussions with the Saints about a new long-term deal. Payton has acknowledged the same. However, it appears the two sides have a gulf between them in terms of dollars and cents. As a result, it may be ideal time to get full market value for Jordan while acquiring a high pick for him.

Playing alongside the aforementioned Jordan is the underperforming DT Broderick Bunkley. With a mere 8 solo tackles, 9 assists and a whopping zero sacks in 2014, it’s time to cut bait with Bunkley and send him to a team that employs a 4-3 standard base defense…like the Titans, Jaguars or Raiders. Trading Bunkley would save the Saints $4.5M against the 2016 salary cap, too. Given Bunkley played for Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio while the two were in Denver together, the Black Hole may be receptive to Bunkley wearing the silver and black as part of its DT rotation. The Raiders depth chart indicates Shelby Harris is the starting LDE. Who? That’s what I said. Harris has all of one game to his career belt and a pair of tackles. That’s it. Cameron Jordan would be a massive upgrade for the left defensive end spot. OLB Sio Moore is the starting weak side linebacker. This spot needs an upgrade as well. Charles Woodson is now 65 years old and collecting Social Security. He’s like old gray (silver?) mare because he ain’t what he used to be. The Raiders need a younger safety to spell Woodson.

Now we come to SS Rafael Bush. The Saints have no less than nine (9) safeties on the roster and Bush is unlikely to be a starter given Byrd and Vaccaro as the incumbents. There was market interest for Bush a year ago before he signed a three-year accord for $3.8M with a fraction guaranteed. Trading Rafael Bush frees up $2M in cap space this year. Bush is not under contract for 2016 and could walk, anyway.

If these three defensive players, all of whom may be able to start for the Titans, Jaguars or Raiders, are not enough to strike a deal in the top 5, I present either LB David Hawthorne or a 6th round pick to sweeten the pot and formalize a mutually beneficial transaction between the Saints and an AFC team.

Hawthorne, an eight-year undrafted veteran out of TCU, will be 30 years old when mini-camp starts next month. With the addition of Danelle Ellerbe from the Dolphins in the Kenny Stills trade, Hawthorne seems expendable especially if the Saints play more 4-3 fronts to deter the run. Hawthorne played for Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley while the two were in Seattle a few years ago. The Jaguars let go LB Geno Hayes and need a pass rushing defensive end, an upgrade at safety and more depth at DT. Jacksonville could be an ideal trade partner with the Saints. The Jags also covet a pass rushing specialist (Jordan) and secondary help (Bush). See the fit?

Further, should the Saints land the #2 overall (Titans), #3 overall (Jaguars) or #4 overall (Raiders) pick in this year’s NFL draft, it opens up a myriad of trade-down options as well as opportunities to acquire the best defensive players in the draft this year. Notice I used the plural form – players. Let’s turn loose our imaginations as we’ve all been told many times since kindergarten. Shall we?

Let’s say the Titans, another team in need of a pass rusher, defensive tackle, inside linebacker and secondary depth, trade the #2 overall pick to the Saints for Jordan, Bunkley, Hawthorne and Bush. The Titans get three starts and a reserve (Bush) who can play special teams quite capably. This seems like a fair and reasonable trade given the fact Tennessee may take Leonard Williams or Dante’ Fowler, Jr. with the second pick or trade it for Phillip Rivers. In either case, the Saints four players seem to make more impact both immediately and long term for the Titans franchise. Rivers has but a couple of years left in him and Mariota is far from proven.

Likewise, trading the #2 overall to the Browns for the #12 and #19 spots yields two lesser players for the Titans with no better than a 33% chance each would “make it” in the NFL. Hence, the Saints deal seems attractive.

If Tennessee declines to play nicely, I believe the Jaguars would. The Jags have some offensive weaponry and can get a skilled WR or RB in the top of the second round to help Bortles and bunch. However, the Jaguars defense is porous and the four Saints players would all likely start and play significant roles. If the Jaguars chose to get Jordan to sign a long-term extension and they like what Hawthorne and Bush give them, the Jaguars would be better off with this trade then taking Fowler, Leonard Williams or any other defensive player. Neither of these guys is a “sure thing” in the NFL. Most experts like Bill Polian insist there is no such thing as a “sure thing” in the NFL and trading high picks for multiple “proven” players in the NFL is often very sensible and wise.

What do the Saints do with the #2 overall pick, let’s say? Trade it to the Browns or Jets. If Cleveland, insist on the #12, #19 and #43 overall. The Saints may need to throw in that 6th round pick to conclude this exchange. With these picks, the Saints could look at a draft haul something like this:

#12 Trae Waynes, CB Michigan State
#13 Shane Ray, OLB/DE Missouri
#19 La’el Collins OG/OT LSU
#31 Eddie Goldman, DT Florida State
#43 Denzel Perryman, ILB U-Miami
#44 Jaelen Strong, WR Arizona State

If the Saints get the #3 pick from the Jaguars, they can trade down with the Jets or Bears and pick up an additional second round choice. This swap (or one with the Raiders) could result in something like this:

#7 Bud Dupree, DE Kentucky
#13 Trae Waynes, CB Michigan State
#31 Cameron Irving, OG/C Florida State
#39 Eli Harold, OLB Virginia
#43 Jordan Phillips, DT Oklahoma

Selections like these would allow Danell Ellerbe to play in the middle with Parys Haralson on the weak side linebacker spot with Harold on the strong. The other combination depending on draft picks could place Perryman in the middle with Ellerbe on the strong side. I also sense Brandon Browner could step into the SLB spot given his physical style of play and ability to manhandle big receivers and tight ends at the line of scrimmage. This would allow Keenan Lewis to play LCB opposite Trae Waynes at RCB. Let’s not forget DE/OLB Anthony Spencer is in the mix and would complement a 3-man DE rotation as applicable.

Vaulting into the top 5 at the expense of four defensive players and possibly a late-round pick makes sense both on the field and in the accounting ledgers. The aforementioned trade scenarios free up almost $10M in cap space this year and about $15M next year. Granted, the additional draft picks will absorb pieces of those amounts. Nonetheless, the end result would give the Saints younger, faster, and more talented players at several positions who are overall less expensive and more cap friendly in the future.

If the Saints can pull the trigger in the top 5 in the coming days and enhance the roster appreciably through a plethora of first-round and second-round draft picks, I believe the team’s future is brighter and chances of success in 2015, 2016 and years to come substantially improved.

Naturally, if the Saints do get a top 5 pick and there’s a flurry of activity on draft day, the Saints could trade down twice if not three times in the first round and wind up with 3-4 first round picks AND 3-4 second round picks depending on which players are selected and when by other teams. Needless to say, shipping Jordan, Bunkley, Bush and Hawthorne disembarks proven defensive talent. Yet, one must surrender value in order to receive value at this level of professional sports. Trading this quartet for a premium first makes solid sense.

What happens if the Eagles step into the fray to get Mariota and sit at the 20th pick overall? Good question. The Saints could make this potential deal happen, too. I don’t think the Saints want the oft-injured Sam Bradford in return as part of a package to move from #20 to second (presumably). What do the Eagles have the Saints could want and use? A couple of players and draft picks. Most notably, the Saints could probably use OLB Connor Barwin. He’s young, highly productive (14.5 sacks last year), and under a reasonable contract for four more years. He could start at OLB or edge rusher for New Orleans alongside Spencer or a highly-touted rookie.

The Eagles, for some reason, don’t particularly want 33-year-old road grader of a left guard Evan Mathis. This guy has been to the last two Pro Bowls for the NFC and is highly acclaimed as a locker room leader and true professional who has worked his craft well to get where he is today. Even at his age, he’d be a strong left guard option for another 2-3 years. He and Barwin would be the two starters recouped in an Eagles trade. Yet, there’s more to the mix. I’m guessing the Eagles would have to also surrender their #20 overall pick and their second round choice that is #52 overall. The Saints can still land a solid LB, WR or DL in the latter spot and an opening day starter with the Eagles first-round spot.

I see abundant opportunities to improve both sides of the ball for the Saints if they’re willing to part ways with Cameron Jordan, Broderick Bunkley, Rafael Bush, David Hawthorne and possibly a late selection in 2015. They can do just fine if they stay where they are and choose wisely. However, given the ages, contract situations and abundance of talent and depth in this year’s draft, it makes far more sense to proactively transact players.

The show in Chicago will be a fun one to watch regardless of where the Saints draft and how many times.

In fact, I believe it'll only be a matter of time before someone (ESPN?) starts a FFL that is centered around the NFL Draft. Eight teams in a league with each owner having four picks in each of the 7 rounds for a total of 28 rookies. Each rookie is graded for production every week. Skill players get points for yardage, TDs, and the usual. Linemen get demerits (points deducted) for penalties, etc. Number of starts, games played, and total plays on the field during the season are also grading factors that merit points for each applicable player. At the end of the year, the best "Owner/GM" is declared the winner based on total points his rookies were awarded.

There's a million-dollar idea someone can run with.

-END-
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:49 AM   #2
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

My left brain is now beating the crap out of my right brain and I'm too tired to attempt to break it up...
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:10 AM   #3
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Cam and pick 13 for Leonard Williams would keep great cap room next year and have a great young DE locked up for 5 years cheap without loosing a pick. Spend the 8ml+ on Jordan cap next year on another player and we look good. I like Cam but he is going to want a big deal,Raiders can afford it
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
My left brain is now beating the crap out of my right brain and I'm too tired to attempt to break it up...
You should take the time as it's a good read.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:28 PM   #5
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Oak, is that you? ... Just kidding.

Welcome aboard Lenny100
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:07 PM   #6
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Originally Posted by lee909 View Post
Cam and pick 13 for Leonard Williams would keep great cap room next year and have a great young DE locked up for 5 years cheap without loosing a pick. Spend the 8ml+ on Jordan cap next year on another player and we look good. I like Cam but he is going to want a big deal,Raiders can afford it

This would be one heck of a deal! The best d-line in the draft for Jordan and #13. He would start from the get go and be just as good if not better than Jordan. Not to mention 7 million a year cheaper over the next 4 years.
With that being said it will never happen. No way the Jags or Titans agree to this. Also Jordan is not under the franchise tag, he is under the 5th year option which is roughly 5.8 million instead of 13 million he would receive under the tag. Bush has been our best safety so he stays put. Bunkley was hurt last year and that is why his stats are crap. Jordan and the #13 for #3 that would be great. The rest, ah not so much.
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:09 PM   #7
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

how about we throw in a "rumor", "speculation" in the title? That isn't happening anyways. This isn't Draft Day or Madden so just stop
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Old 04-28-2015, 04:28 PM   #8
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Good read!!
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Old 04-28-2015, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Love it all except for Waynes. Watched him a lot last year. He was great against the lesser talent , but the games against tOSU and Baylor exposed him as fairly mediocre. We already have the SJB "project" occupying our bench. Put a linebacker in there instead.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:02 PM   #10
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Re: Saints Move into Top 5 via Trade with AFC Team

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
My left brain is now beating the crap out of my right brain and I'm too tired to attempt to break it up...

Last edited by foreverfan; 04-28-2015 at 09:45 PM..
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