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Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency BY NICK UNDERHILL Mar 9, 2017 - 6:43 pm The Saints entered the offseason with their wants, needs and musts laid out at various positions. We can quibble over ...

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Old 03-10-2017, 04:44 AM   #1
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Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency BY NICK UNDERHILL
Mar 9, 2017 - 6:43 pm


The Saints entered the offseason with their wants, needs and musts laid out at various positions.

We can quibble over which spots ranked where. Maybe middle linebacker was less of a need than guard or cornerback was more important than improving the return game. What matters now is that many of the teamís needs were taken care of during the first day of free agency.

Need a guard? Hereís Larry Warford.

Need a middle linebacker? Welcome to New Orleans, A.J. Klein.

Need a returner? Hello, Ted Ginn.

The teamís two major needs at defensive end and cornerback remain outstanding, but New Orleans made a major move by agreeing to terms with defensive tackle Nick Fairley, which means the team will still be able to bring it up the middle as solutions on the edge continue to be explored.

And the solution at cornerback could still be yet to come in one form or another. Rumors have been floating about a potential trade that would send cornerback Malcolm Butler to New Orleans in exchange for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, but that is yet to take fire. That move would take a valuable player from the offense, but Ginn would be able to fill the vertical void, and the team would have a cornerback to pair with Delvin Breaux who could help buy more time for the pass rushers.

But thatís all hypothetical. In the interim, the Saints have made some strong moves that should help them get better, and each one appears to serve a purpose with a clear vision in mind.

And while some of the deals are pricey (Fairley will reportedly receiver $30 million over four years; Klein signed a deal worth $15 million over three seasons, and Warford is sure to be expensive), none of them were the richest assets or biggest names on the market. The Coby Fleener signing aside, this continues a trend from last season where New Orleans has taken a more measured approach to free agency.

The signing of Warford should give the Saints an upgrade at right guard, which could signal the end to Jahri Evansí tenure in New Orleans. The 26-year-old had his best season as a rookie and is still trying to recapture that high after not allowing a sack that year, but he only allowed three sacks and 28 pressures in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus.
Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency | Saints | theadvocate.com
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:55 AM   #2
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Nick Fairley:

Nick Fairley’s contract details have a lot of analysts excited.

Most had figured he would price himself out of New Orleans with $8-10+ million per year averages. After all, he led all free agent DTs in sacks and QB pressures, while finishing near the top of the position in tackles. Those are the kinds of stats that get you PAID.

Turns out, Fairley was willing to take a hometown discount. His contract max’s out at $30 million over four years. That’s just a bit over $7 million per year. That lands him as the 14th highest paid DT in the league. Even before his breakout year, that would have been a solid contract. After the season he had last year, it’s a miracle the Saints were able to lock him up for so little.
A.J. Klein:

Assuming A.J. Klein can lock down the starting MLB spot, he’s on a great deal as well.

Klein’s contract, at face value, is worth $24 million over four years. But the final year of that contract, in which $9 million is due to him, automatically voids in 2020.

That means Klein is on a three-year, $15 million contract. And the Saints have the flexibility to cut him after two with negligible cost to their cap if he doesn’t work out. Klein has only ever been a backup, but there’s been some solid demand for a player of his caliber. If he is indeed starter-material, that’s another great deal.

Ted Ginn Jr.:

Although we don’t yet have the details on Ginn’s contract, we can safely assume that it’s nothing game-changing. The Saints need more vertical threats on their offense, even if they hold onto Brandin Cooks. And Ginn can provide the return ability that Cooks and the rest of this roster has failed to provide.

Plenty of WRs have already inked big deals in 2017. But at 32, Ginn is not about to break anyone’s bank. His contract won’t exceed $4 million a year. He has a history of drops, isn’t known as a diverse route-runner, and will lose a step before he gains one.

He’s excellent insurance in case the Saints do trade Cooks. Like I mentioned, he’s not known for the complexity of his route-tree. But he can stretch the field with the best of them. And between Snead and Michael Thomas, the Saints have that intermediate stuff sorted.

Larry Warford:

There’s a chance the Saints had to empty the piggybank for Warford. We’ll wait to see the details, so don’t hold me to that. But after striking out on Kevin Zeitler, the Saints were in desperate waters.

Zeitler inked a 5-year, $60 million contract that averages out to $12 mil a year. There’s no way Warford got that amount. I’d assume he landed something closer to Ronald Leary’s $35 million over four years. But to be honest he probably got more than that.

Warford is a young and emerging talent. Those sorts of players don’t come cheap. With next to no viable OG prospects in the draft class, the Saintsneeded to land a starter in free agency. And they did. For now, that’s all I’m going to see here.
New Orleans Saints Aggressive But Frugal in First Day of Free Agency

Ted Ginn Jr. - won’t exceed $4 million a year.

Still not liking this deal even more. League min player and even then i am reluctant. I passed over him in the FA list without a second thought. well I did pause and memories of multiple dropped passes against the saints danced through my head. Chuckling to myself " no freaking way. "

Ted Ginn Jr. - won’t exceed $4 million a year.
Vs
6 mill a year
Micah Hyde, Packers — signed by Bills at 5 years, $30 million

Screwed the poach on this one

"We may have lost the game, but you'll be hurting tomorrow." Doug Atkins

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Old 03-10-2017, 05:10 AM   #3
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

If this is the case 28 million has already been taken of our 31 million in cap room. The only way it changes is if some is back loaded or signing bonuses, etc....we still need a starting cb and de before the draft. Cadet and Hightower also need resigned. I'm hoping those 4 signees only take up about 15 this year.
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Old 03-10-2017, 05:18 AM   #4
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

We really do not need to resign Cadet
We need a true 3rd down back to replace him.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:22 AM   #5
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Originally Posted by lee909 View Post
We really do not need to resign Cadet
We need a true 3rd down back to replace him.
Boom Williams out of KY. I'm only dreaming but he is a good back that could come in the later rounds. Mainly I just want one DE with our 1st pick and our DBs healthy
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:55 AM   #6
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Originally Posted by voodooido View Post
If this is the case 28 million has already been taken of our 31 million in cap room. The only way it changes is if some is back loaded or signing bonuses, etc....we still need a starting cb and de before the draft. Cadet and Hightower also need resigned. I'm hoping those 4 signees only take up about 15 this year.
Not that I don't trust you Voodoo, I more don't even trust myself in the whole salary cap area. Can anyone verify the math on this or are there some smoke and mirrors going on in the background to have some more $$$ available?
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:09 AM   #7
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

No way man. There's no chance they spent 28 million in space on 4 guys. My guess would be that they probably haven't eaten more than about 15 mil for this year, depending on the size of Warford's deal. They make questionable decisions at times, but to commit almost your entire cap to 4 players would be insanity.

Edit: Just saw Chris posted on the free agency thread that they've only used 5.9 million in space to sign these 4 guys. Still a little over 21 million left.
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:48 AM   #8
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Originally Posted by frydaddy View Post
No way man. There's no chance they spent 28 million in space on 4 guys. My guess would be that they probably haven't eaten more than about 15 mil for this year, depending on the size of Warford's deal. They make questionable decisions at times, but to commit almost your entire cap to 4 players would be insanity.

Edit: Just saw Chris posted on the free agency thread that they've only used 5.9 million in space to sign these 4 guys. Still a little over 21 million left.

There is no way we only sent 5 million this year on those guys. I would have to see the number to believe it. The cap hit has to be higher.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:49 AM   #9
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Originally Posted by voodooido View Post
There is no way we only sent 5 million this year on those guys. I would have to see the number to believe it. The cap hit has to be higher.
There is most definitely a way. And his post was a tweet from a Saints beat writer who would have access to that info.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:23 PM   #10
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Re: Saints checking off boxes with aggressive start to NFL free agency

Originally Posted by voodooido View Post
There is no way we only sent 5 million this year on those guys. I would have to see the number to believe it. The cap hit has to be higher.
Contracts can be structured in very inventive ways. Not only do the Saints have well over $20 million of free cap, there is also another $14 million in roster bonuses that can be converted to signing bonuses which could free up another $9-$10 million. And that doesn't even include contract restructures which could free up even more than that.
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