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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; While keeping up with what different teams are doing in free agency, it's apparant that most teams are not on equal footing when it comes to filling needs. While many fans are screaming for their team to sign this player ...

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Old 03-07-2005, 10:52 AM   #1
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The Big Picture.

While keeping up with what different teams are doing in free agency, it's apparant that most teams are not on equal footing when it comes to filling needs.

While many fans are screaming for their team to sign this player or that player, the salary cap prevents that from happening.

Some teams, like the Lions, are severely lacking when it comes to talent. While that's never a good thing, it also means they don't have a lot of money tied up in their current roster and are therefore are able to address many needs in free agency.

The Saints, on the other hand, have a very talented core group of players on the team that take up a lot of cap space - such as - Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn, Charles Grant, Darren Howard, Will Smith, Donte Stallworth, Mike McKenzie, Aaron Brooks, and Le' Charles Bentley.

With that in mind, it should also be noted that some of these players are up for new contracts. Like: Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and Le' Charles Bentley. Also, the Saints need to lock up a contract with Mike McKenzie.

Furthermore, there's still the draft to consider. All the draft picks in the upcoming draft will count against the cap.

While fans really don't care to hear this. It must be taken into consideration by the Saints' organization.

The way the Saints have drafted in the past is coming back to haunt this team. As CanLoomis noted, the Saints haven't done well past the first round in the draft. Successful teams usually find a few "gems" in the later rounds that are an important part of their success. Simply put, players like Sedrick Hodge, James Allen, and Mel Mitchell haven't paid off for the Saints. And Donte' Stallworth hasn't lived up to expectaions as he was selected with the 16th pick in the first round.

To further complicate matters for the Saints when it comes to free agency, we've got a lot of money tied up in Jonathan Sullivan and Darren Howard. Sullivan is counting pretty heavily on our cap and it isn't paying off on the filed in terms of production. The Saints' can't cut him because it would cost too much in the long run and they are better served, at this point, hoping the light will come on for him.

And the drafting of Will Smith futher complicates matters. Now we've got a lot of money tied up in the defensive end position. What that's doing is preventing the Saints from addressing "key" areas of needs on the defense.

IMO, Darren Howard must be traded in order to fill glaring weaknesses on the defense. Howard is a luxary this team can't afford.

The Saints offseason improvents are largely dependent on what happens with Darren Howard. Likely, the Howard trade will bring us a much needed ball-hawking safety.

But, that still leaves us with big question marks at linebacker.

"The club hasn't invested a first-round pick at the position since Mark Fields in 1996 and that has shown on the field. Young LBs Courtney Watson, Colby Bockwoldt and James Allen are promising young starters, but the defense lacks a difference maker at the second level. "

It doesn't look like LB is going to be addressed in free-agency. Hopefully LB will be addressed in the draft.

This team only needs a couple of players on the defense for it to be a force. It doesn't need to be rebuilt. A saftey in free-agency and a LB in the draft could be all it needs.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:10 AM   #2
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I like your thoughts. It appears more and more if we don\'t go after a LB in free agency, even a will Witherspoon, this will be a spot of need in the draft. I am okay with that. Also, I read today the Saints are trying to renegotiate Bentley. I think the Howard trade will give them the money to redo Deuce, and Horn may have to play out this year and be franchised next year and traded if necessary.

I would not be mad if we decided to trade Deuce to one of the teams at the top of the draft and save the money it would take to re-sign him, and draft Ronnie Brown. He is clearly a beast at RB, but that move will draw little interest from Saints fans, although financially it would put us in a great position. So Howard\'s cap space looks like it will be used to keep our own. Updating S(if Smith doesn\'t play corner) and O-line(if Mayberry can handle RT) are good moves. A few more are probably on the way. Even with just Smith, our defense should be marginally better next year. We will see what the draft yields. Hopefully we will be in a position where both units help each other next year, offense and defense.

Also, with us being 10th in takeaways last year, adding a ball-hawking player like Smith can only help. I am excited about that.

If we do go LB in the draft, I would like us to move back and get more picks unless we can swing something for DJ. I like Howard and our second for a high enough pick to get him, but again this is unlikely as it is too aggressive and the Sully pick probabaly has left a sour taste on the FO. But there is no speculation about DJ. He is prob as sure fire as you can get in this draft.

All in all, I agree with your thoughts. As it stands right now, with the moves that have been made, we should see a slight improvement on both sides of the ball, and hopefully Watson and Colby continue to develop.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:13 AM   #3
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Darren Howard must be traded in order to fill glaring weaknesses on the defense. Howard is a luxary this team can\'t afford.
agreed-i\'d love to trade him to the texans for that lB we talked about earlier and their second.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:33 AM   #4
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I cannot say that I am confident that this team will pick an IMPACT LB in the draft. Sorry. THe whole world was sure that we would dract Trufant two years ago. Last year, everyone was sure that one of the stud LBs would fall to us. We picked a DE. A spot where we already had two guys who are both on their way to being all-pro caliber.

I sincerely hope that the Saints draft a stud LB, but I wouldn\'t put my money on it.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:38 AM   #5
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If we do go LB in the draft, I would like us to move back and get more picks unless we can swing something for DJ.
Hmmm,
ILB\'s Crowder, Barret Ruud, Odel Thurman, Lance Mitchell will all most likely be available late 1st/2nd round. Not exactly a huge difference in these 4 MLB\'s.

Ditto for OLB\'s Merriman, Burnett, Boley, and Wallace.

Trading down may allow us to land two of these guys and still have an extra 2nd rounder.

Hmmm, how about landing Ruud/Merriman? Or Crowder/Boley? I think that would shore up the ole LB spot a bit heh?
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:39 AM   #6
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The good thing about this draft as compared to last years it is deep in LBs. Not deep with Johnsons or Vilma and Johnson from last year, but deep with solid guys. I think we can come away with an impact LB in this draft no matter where we pick, BUT that is dependent upon this team picking them. Noone was more shocked by the Trufant fiasco than me, but this year, we don\'t have the problem of running out of LBs before our pick like last year. There are several guys we can target, and be happy we got them. Morrison, Ware, Crowder, Burnett just to name a few. And let\'s not forget, there still may be a trade working to bring in a Jamie Sharper or a will witherspoon or such. Unlikely, yes. But I feel better about us getting a good LB this year than I did last year, even though Watson is a keeper.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:42 AM   #7
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And let\'s not forget, there still may be a trade working to bring in a Jamie Sharper or a will witherspoon or such. Unlikely, yes. But I feel better about us getting a good LB this year than I did last year, even though Watson is a keeper.
Yep. You\'ve got to think Darren Howard will be traded. Linebacker seems to be the biggest area of need at this point. Jamie Sharper is a guy that I like.
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Old 03-07-2005, 11:51 AM   #8
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My DJ aspirations were with the assumption that the Saints would be duds in free agency. Now that they have signed Dwight Smith and are most probably trading Howard, I feel much better about them staying put at 16 and taking BPA. Even if we don\'t pick a LB in the first round, a Channing Crowder, Kirk Morrison or Kevin Burnett would be a great pickup in the 2nd round.
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Old 03-07-2005, 04:14 PM   #9
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So far,

(1) Not bad for a FO with no plan...
(2) I really feel like we should get a vetran LB to play with our rookies.
(3) I really like the idea of trading down in the first and adding a second. Other than a few DTs and maybe T. Davis, I don\'t think that there will be serious impact players at #16. We can move down and maybe still get Davis or a DT. We can then pick up two players in round two - I actually like the idea of taking two of those \"solid\" LBs here.
(4) I think we should still pursue a real RT and a CB (even if just to play nickle) in FA.

This way, we get two new \"solid\" LBs in the draft. A potential impact DT (like Hawthorne or Cody). A real RT, a CB (I like Dyson, but I don\'t think we\'ll get him), and hopefully a stud LB with a Howard trade or a Witherspoon or Hartwell.

Damn, wouldn\'t that be fine?

"... I was beating them with my eyes the whole game..." - Aaron Brooks :cool:
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