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WhoDat 01-28-2003 11:03 AM

Free Agency
OK, well I'm no sports writer, analyst, scout, or coach, but for what it's worth, here's what I think the Saints should do in the off-season...

We'll start with the defensive side of the ball, because that's where the biggest needs are. The Saints are looking to reload up the middle at DT, MLB, and S primarily, but there are other good players at other positions that they might take. The most interesting thing will be to see if they stick with the 4-3, or go back to the 3-4.

DT - Hand will probably go, Jackson will stay, and we should all hope he make all of his Weight Watchers appointments this off-season. I wouldn't mind seeing them sign any one or two of the following players at DT:

Pos Player Name Status 2002 Team 2002 Base Salary
DT Brown, Gilbert UFA GBP $650,000.00
DT Dotson, Santana UFA WAS $750,000.00
DT Gardener, Daryl UFA WAS $525,000.00
DT Holland, Darius UFA MIN $525,000.00
DT Hunt, Cletidus UFA GBP $563,000.00
DT Noble, Brandon UFA DAL $1,227,000.00
DT Price, Shawn UFA SDC $650,000.00
DT Pritchett, Kelvin UFA DET $750,000.00
DT Webster, Larry UFA NYJ $650,000.00

My best is that they'll sign one of these guys, or another similar player, and then draft a young stud in the first round. The free agent market for DTs is light this year, so a lot of these guys will cost big bucks.

DE - Nothing. Although there is a TON of talent out there this year at DE, I think Howard and Grant are quality guys who will continue to improve. Unless they can go get someone for really cheap, I don't think they should do anything. They might pick up a project DE in the late rounds of the draft to replace Whitehead, who will probably leave.

LB - They're saying that they will probably keep Clemons this year and move him back out to OLB where he played so well the year before last. I don't know what I think about that. He was really bad this last year, but then again, he did play great the year before. Hodges or James Allen will play on the other side unless they pick someone up, which they should. Allen may also get a chance at MLB. Smith is likely to leave. It will be interesting to see if they stick with the 4-3 or go to the 3-4. In any case, one stud OLB like Takeo Spikes, and one stud MLB who may even be Cox, would be nice. Here's a list of some of the guys I like who are available:

Pos Player Name Status 2002 Team 2002 Base Salary
LB Barber, Shawn UFA PHI $750,000.00
LB Brooking, Keith UFA ATL $1,100,000.00
LB Caldwell, Mike UFA CHI $650,000.00
LB Claiborne, Chris UFA DET $1,740,000.00
LB Colvin, Rosevelt UFA CHI $1,227,000.00
LB Cox, Bryan UFA NOS $750,000.00
LB Darling, James UFA NYJ $525,000.00
LB Diggs, Na'il RFA GBP $375,000.00
LB Faulk, Trev EFA ARI $225,000.00
LB Hambrick, Darren UFA CLE $525,000.00
LB Harris, Bernardo UFA BAL $650,000.00
LB Jones, Dhani RFA NYG $358,000.00
LB Kirkland, Levon UFA PHI $750,000.00
LB Mitchell, Keith UFA HOU $525,000.00
LB Mitchell, Kevin UFA WAS $650,000.00
LB Nickerson, Hardy O. UFA GBP $750,000.00
LB Peterson, Mike UFA IND $450,000.00
LB Quarles, Shelton UFA TBB $525,000.00
LB Spikes, Takeo UFA CIN $648,000.00
LB Towns, Lester RFA CAR $375,000.00
LB Webster, Nate UFA TBB $375,000.00

CB - Hawthorne is likely to go, thank god. Irvin is on the fence. The general consensus that I've heard is that they want to pick up one more stud at corner to play across from Carter and use Thomas and Craver as their 3rd and 4th CBs. Of course, I think this is probably the last area of need on the defense, possibly only second to DE. However, there are a lot of good DBs out there this year... here are a few I'd like to see them go after if they make any kind of move:

Pos Player Name Status 2002 Team 2002 Base Salary
CB Bly, Dre' UFA STL $450,000.00
CB Bolden, Juran UFA ATL $525,000.00
CB Buckley, Terrell UFA NEP $750,000.00
CB Fair, Terry UFA CAR $525,000.00
CB Gordon, Darrien UFA OAK $650,000.00
CB McAlister, Chris UFA BAL $814,625.00
CB McBride, Tod UFA GBP $563,000.00
CB McDaniel, Emmanuel UFA CAR $525,000.00
CB Poole, Tyrone UFA DEN $525,000.00
CB Westbrook, Bryant UFA GBP $525,000.00

S - This will be an area of need if they get rid of Sammy Knight. It doesn't appear that they seem particularly worried about having Bellamy and this Mel Mitchell kid as their starters. If Sammy goes, I certainly hope that they sign someone else. The good news again, is that the market is fairly saturated with good players.

Pos Player Name Status 2002 Team 2002 Base Salary
S Belser, Jason UFA KCC $750,000.00
S Carpenter, Keion UFA ATL $450,000.00
S Cota, Chad UFA STL $650,000.00
S Darius, Donovin UFA JAX $525,000.00
S Flowers, Lethon UFA PIT $2,100,000.00
S Freeman, Arturo RFA MIA $375,000.00
S Green, Victor UFA NEP $650,000.00
S Ivy, Corey RFA TBB $300,000.00
S Jackson, Dexter UFA TBB $563,000.00
S Jones, Tebucky UFA NEP $628,200.00
S Lassiter, Kwamie UFA ARI $3,342,000.00
S Little, Earl UFA CLE $600,000.00
S Stoutmire, Omar UFA NYG $525,000.00

Offensively, the Saints are basically set with a few caveats: 1. If Delhomme leaves, they'll need a back up. 2. If Turley leaves, they'll probably go after a big name Tackle. 3. They need a decent back up for Deuce. For the most part, the offense won't change much. The offensive line might get shuffled a little and you may see one or two new linemen, probably through the draft. Jake Reed is probably gone, so they may pick someone up or just go with the guys that they have up and coming who apparently they like (Michael Lewis, Derrick Lewis, and there's one other who I forget). I'll be amazed if they don't pick a TE in the first three rounds of the draft. In any case, I'm not a great judge of O-line talent, so I'll talk about the other skill positions.

QB - Resign Jake, resign Jake, resign Jake. He's young, talented, smart, and he wants to stay. Sure he wants a chance to start, but no team in the league is just going to give it to him. He'll have to earn it in camp. Pay him good money and with Brooks coming off a sub-par second half of the season and shoulder surgery, give Jake a real shot in camp. Why not? At worst, it forces Brooks to step up and prove himself. He did seem to play his best football when Blake was still standing on the sidelines.

RB - The Deuce/Ricky trade was a stroke of genius... one that I didn't like when they did it b/c I didn't think Deuce could go the whole season without getting hurt. Well, I was right and I was wrong. Deuce is a stud, but we need a quality number two. Here are a few guys that could fill that spot.

Pos Player Name Status 2002 Team 2002 Base Salary
RB Gary, Olandis UFA DEN $563,000.00
RB Levens, Dorsey UFA PHI $650,000.00
RB Mitchell, Brian UFA PHI $750,000.00
RB Morton, Chad RFA NYJ $375,000.00
RB Williams, Moe UFA MIN $525,000.00

There are a million other running backs out there, so any of them could be signed also. My hope though is that they get someone who is at least somewhat proven instead of taking another chance with some other guy like Curtis Keaton.

FB - There are a zillion FBs this year. Apparently the Saints aren't real happy with Terrelle Smith's play, although I think he's a good fullback. Houser may get a chance or they may pick someone else up.

WR - We've got a great receiving core with Horn, Stallworth, and Pathon. Frankly, I'd like to see them pick someone else up who can challenge Pathon. He played great at the beginning of the year, but not down the stretch. I still don't know why they got rid of Willie Jackson and I think they should try to resign him. If he wanted number 1 receiver money last year, I doubt he will after this last year in which he played very little and was cut by two teams (three if you include the Saints). Possible replacements for Reed, if they try to get anyone, who could challenge Pathon for the number 3 role are:

Pos Player Name Status 2002
Team 2002
Base Salary
WR Bates, Michael UFA CAR $650,000.00
WR Boston, David UFA ARI $1,018,500.00
WR Coles, Laveranues RFA NYJ $375,000.00
WR Dixon, Ron RFA NYG $375,000.00
WR Dyson, Kevin UFA TEN $640,000.00
WR Engram, Bobby UFA SEA $525,000.00
WR Finneran, Brian UFA ATL $450,000.00
WR Freeman, Antonio UFA PHI $900,000.00
WR Jackson, Willie UFA ATL/WAS N/A
WR Jenkins, Martay UFA ARI $450,000.00
WR Lockett, Kevin UFA JAX $525,000.00
WR Mathis, Terance UFA PIT $750,000.00
WR Price, Peerless UFA BUF $450,000.00
WR Proehl, Ricky UFA STL $750,000.00
WR Scott, Darnay UFA DAL $650,000.00
WR Shaw, Bobby UFA JAX $525,000.00
WR Stokley, Brandon UFA BAL $563,000.00
WR White, Dez RFA CHI $375,000.00

They're not likely to go after any RFAs as receivers, but you never know. They may also just draft someone if they see a steal in the third round or so. Anyway, that's it. I don't expect them to go after a TE in free agency since Haslett has had nothing but injuries and let downs at the TE position since he came to NO. I bet they'll draft a young guy and go with him and Sloan. That's my best guess, I hope you liked it.

WhoDat 01-28-2003 01:14 PM

Free Agency
Gatorman oh Gatorman, where for art thou Gatorman?

I figured that you\'d have something to say about this post...

WhoDat 01-28-2003 05:40 PM

Free Agency
I don\'t know about a DT in the first... I guess it depends on whose still around... I\'d be pretty willing to bet thought that MLB, DT, and CB are the only three positions they\'d take a shot at... unless something totally insane happens like Palmer\'s still on the board. Ha!

I think they should go after a young experienced player at every position on D except maybe DE. Why not? What do they have $20 mil under the cap next year, plus that number will go up depending on who stays and who leaves. That\'s a lot of money under the cap. You can\'t get a star at each position, but I\'m always worried about depending on rookies. I don\'t want a defense full of rookies and first and second year starters... which it looks like it may be.

WhoDat 01-28-2003 06:14 PM

Free Agency
I don\'t think DT is a bad first rounder, I just think they should get a veteran as well. Insurance if you will.

billyh1026 01-28-2003 06:25 PM

Free Agency
I know he\'s not listed here but we really need to make a run at Terry Tate. The guy\'s got it all. Speed, intensity, plays with pain, and man-o-man can he lay the it he can do it. Simply said, he\'s the best pure LB out there..........

WhoDat 01-29-2003 08:39 AM

Free Agency
Now that\'s a strong statement.

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