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2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

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Old 01-13-2022, 12:00 PM   #1
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2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

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Old 01-13-2022, 12:03 PM   #2
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

METAIRIE, La. – Last year, the New Orleans Saints faced one of the most daunting offseasons in franchise history – needing to replace quarterback Drew Brees and shave $111 million in salary-cap space.

Their response? They remained all-in to try and win another Super Bowl, re-signing most of their vital players and even trying to trade up nearly 20 spots in the draft for a cornerback.

So we should expect no different as the Saints head into another challenging offseason, when they once again need to identify their next QB while clearing around $70 million in cap space.

Eventually, New Orleans might have to entertain the idea of rebuilding, considering that current pillars like defensive end Cameron Jordan, linebacker Demario Davis, safety Malcolm Jenkins and free-agent left tackle Terron Armstead are in their 30s.

But from what we know about general manager Mickey Loomis, coach Sean Payton and executives like Khai Harley and Jeff Ireland, they won’t do that at the expense of staying aggressive and competitive.

Could that include a trade for a big-name quarterback? Or bringing back quarterbacks Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater? Keeping receiver Michael Thomas? Re-signing free agents Armstead and Marcus Williams? Adding a desperately needed pass-catcher? All of those ideas could be on the table.

Here’s a look at their most difficult decisions:

How will Saints get under the cap?

We have to start here, in case people who haven’t followed the Saints’ cap management are wondering how they could even entertain the idea of trading for someone like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Saints are projected to be about $70 million over the NFL's expected salary cap of $208.2 million per team, based on ESPN Stats and Information research (depending on carryover amounts from 2021).

However, the Saints can “easily” create more than $100 million in space without cutting a single player by converting base salaries and roster bonuses into signing bonuses and spreading cap charges into future years.

For example, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is scheduled to receive $19 million in combined salary and roster bonus in 2022, all of which will count against the 2022 cap. If the Saints convert that to a $1 million salary and $18 million signing bonus, they can divide the $18 million over the final five years of his contract ($3.6 million per year). That would save them $14.4 million in 2022 cap space. For players who don't have long-term contracts, the Saints can add years to the end of their deals that will automatically void.

Of course there is a downside to this practice, which New Orleans has used frequently over the past decade – it adds hefty cap charges into future years. And the Saints were burned badly for it when the NFL’s salary cap unexpectedly plummeted in 2021 because of lost revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Saints typically have no problem pushing cap costs into future years when they expect the NFL’s cap to keep rising.

The Saints could save even more cap space if they decide to release or trade players. Thomas is one potential trade candidate (more on him later). They'll also have a decision to make with cornerback Bradley Roby, who is due $10 million. But the Saints don’t have many obvious candidates to be released.

Who will play quarterback?

Even if money was no object, it’s still immensely difficult to acquire a franchise quarterback.

The Saints could definitely have the desire to pursue a top option like Wilson or Rodgers via trade. And both are actually scheduled to make less than $30 million in salary and bonuses in 2022.

But the Saints’ biggest challenge would be making the best trade offer since they don’t pick until 18th in the draft. If the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers actually decide to trade their elite QBs, they could potentially get better offers from teams inside the top 10.

San Francisco 49ers QB Garoppolo is another potential trade candidate. So is the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson, though his situation is obviously complicated by off-field circumstances centered around 22 active lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.

It seems even more likely that the Saints will consider re-signing Winston, who was off to a promising 5-2 start in his first year as their starter before tearing his ACL in Week 8. Winston, who turned 28 last week, still offers the best combination of affordability and potential upside.

Or the Saints could consider bringing back another familiar free agent in Bridgewater, who went 5-0 as their replacement starter in 2019.

Drafting a quarterback would be ideal. But again, picking 18th hurts them, especially in a year when draft analysts aren't high on the position, at least for now.

What becomes of Michael Thomas?

Thomas could be a potential trade candidate, considering the Saints’ cap situation and the dissension between team and player over the past two years. But he could very likely stay – especially since New Orleans was so desperate for reliable pass-catchers while Thomas was out for the entire season with an ankle injury.

It seemed as though tensions had diffused between Thomas and the Saints by the preseason after both sides publicly displayed their frustration over how his ankle injury was handled. And Thomas was with the team, expecting to play in the second half of the season, before he suffered a setback in his recovery.

Thomas’ trade value is unclear, since he is coming off two injury-plagued seasons after being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. But his contract is relatively affordable.

He is due $15.8 million in salary and bonuses in 2022 (most of which is already guaranteed for injury). He is due another $16.45 million in 2023 and $19.7 million in 2024 that is not guaranteed.

Will Saints re-sign elite free agents?

Armstead’s lengthy injury history is a complicating factor (he missed nine games in 2021 and will likely require knee surgery this offseason after being relatively healthy in 2019 and 2020). But that could also make him more affordable, since he surely would have commanded something in the range of $20 million per year if healthy.

Williams, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the league’s top free safeties. And his value has only increased since the Saints used the franchise tag on him last year and were unable to reach a long-term extension. But keeping him should be a top priority since he is only 25.

Other notable Saints free agents include QBs Winston and Trevor Siemian, LB Kwon Alexander, WR Tre’Quan Smith and DB P.J. Williams.

I am hereby letting everyone know that I have submitted the terms "prebreesian" and "postbreesian" for copyright consideration.
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

Originally Posted by AsylumGuido View Post
METAIRIE, La. – Last year, the New Orleans Saints faced one of the most daunting offseasons in franchise history – needing to replace quarterback Drew Brees and shave $111 million in salary-cap space.

Their response? They remained all-in to try and win another Super Bowl, re-signing most of their vital players and even trying to trade up nearly 20 spots in the draft for a cornerback.

So we should expect no different as the Saints head into another challenging offseason, when they once again need to identify their next QB while clearing around $70 million in cap space.

Eventually, New Orleans might have to entertain the idea of rebuilding, considering that current pillars like defensive end Cameron Jordan, linebacker Demario Davis, safety Malcolm Jenkins and free-agent left tackle Terron Armstead are in their 30s.

But from what we know about general manager Mickey Loomis, coach Sean Payton and executives like Khai Harley and Jeff Ireland, they won’t do that at the expense of staying aggressive and competitive.

Could that include a trade for a big-name quarterback? Or bringing back quarterbacks Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater? Keeping receiver Michael Thomas? Re-signing free agents Armstead and Marcus Williams? Adding a desperately needed pass-catcher? All of those ideas could be on the table.

Here’s a look at their most difficult decisions:

How will Saints get under the cap?

We have to start here, in case people who haven’t followed the Saints’ cap management are wondering how they could even entertain the idea of trading for someone like Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Saints are projected to be about $70 million over the NFL's expected salary cap of $208.2 million per team, based on ESPN Stats and Information research (depending on carryover amounts from 2021).

However, the Saints can “easily” create more than $100 million in space without cutting a single player by converting base salaries and roster bonuses into signing bonuses and spreading cap charges into future years.

For example, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is scheduled to receive $19 million in combined salary and roster bonus in 2022, all of which will count against the 2022 cap. If the Saints convert that to a $1 million salary and $18 million signing bonus, they can divide the $18 million over the final five years of his contract ($3.6 million per year). That would save them $14.4 million in 2022 cap space. For players who don't have long-term contracts, the Saints can add years to the end of their deals that will automatically void.

Of course there is a downside to this practice, which New Orleans has used frequently over the past decade – it adds hefty cap charges into future years. And the Saints were burned badly for it when the NFL’s salary cap unexpectedly plummeted in 2021 because of lost revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Saints typically have no problem pushing cap costs into future years when they expect the NFL’s cap to keep rising.

The Saints could save even more cap space if they decide to release or trade players. Thomas is one potential trade candidate (more on him later). They'll also have a decision to make with cornerback Bradley Roby, who is due $10 million. But the Saints don’t have many obvious candidates to be released.

Who will play quarterback?

Even if money was no object, it’s still immensely difficult to acquire a franchise quarterback.

The Saints could definitely have the desire to pursue a top option like Wilson or Rodgers via trade. And both are actually scheduled to make less than $30 million in salary and bonuses in 2022.

But the Saints’ biggest challenge would be making the best trade offer since they don’t pick until 18th in the draft. If the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers actually decide to trade their elite QBs, they could potentially get better offers from teams inside the top 10.

San Francisco 49ers QB Garoppolo is another potential trade candidate. So is the Houston Texans’ Deshaun Watson, though his situation is obviously complicated by off-field circumstances centered around 22 active lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.

It seems even more likely that the Saints will consider re-signing Winston, who was off to a promising 5-2 start in his first year as their starter before tearing his ACL in Week 8. Winston, who turned 28 last week, still offers the best combination of affordability and potential upside.

Or the Saints could consider bringing back another familiar free agent in Bridgewater, who went 5-0 as their replacement starter in 2019.

Drafting a quarterback would be ideal. But again, picking 18th hurts them, especially in a year when draft analysts aren't high on the position, at least for now.

What becomes of Michael Thomas?

Thomas could be a potential trade candidate, considering the Saints’ cap situation and the dissension between team and player over the past two years. But he could very likely stay – especially since New Orleans was so desperate for reliable pass-catchers while Thomas was out for the entire season with an ankle injury.

It seemed as though tensions had diffused between Thomas and the Saints by the preseason after both sides publicly displayed their frustration over how his ankle injury was handled. And Thomas was with the team, expecting to play in the second half of the season, before he suffered a setback in his recovery.

Thomas’ trade value is unclear, since he is coming off two injury-plagued seasons after being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019. But his contract is relatively affordable.

He is due $15.8 million in salary and bonuses in 2022 (most of which is already guaranteed for injury). He is due another $16.45 million in 2023 and $19.7 million in 2024 that is not guaranteed.

Will Saints re-sign elite free agents?

Armstead’s lengthy injury history is a complicating factor (he missed nine games in 2021 and will likely require knee surgery this offseason after being relatively healthy in 2019 and 2020). But that could also make him more affordable, since he surely would have commanded something in the range of $20 million per year if healthy.

Williams, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the league’s top free safeties. And his value has only increased since the Saints used the franchise tag on him last year and were unable to reach a long-term extension. But keeping him should be a top priority since he is only 25.

Other notable Saints free agents include QBs Winston and Trevor Siemian, LB Kwon Alexander, WR Tre’Quan Smith and DB P.J. Williams.
If you didn't write this, and you certainly DID NOT, well dumbass, you have to post a LINK. It is ILLEGAL to plagiarize other people's property.
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:46 PM   #4
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

Here's another article from NOLA.com that gives another take on the story from the opening post.

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Old 01-13-2022, 01:22 PM   #5
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

The CBS Sports version ...

How to fix the Saints in 2022: Leave no stone unturned at QB, shop Michael Thomas to rebuild WR corps

Five steps that could help New Orleans get back on track

By Cody Benjamin

The Saints started strong in 2021, opening 5-2 and then threatening to sneak into the playoffs down the stretch despite multiple injuries at quarterback, including to Week 1 starter Jameis Winston . In the end, New Orleans missed the cut, snapping a four-year streak of postseason runs under longtime coach Sean Payton. Not only are the Saints a full year removed from the end of the Drew Brees era, but they've yet to draw much closer to a definitive next phase, entering 2022 with remaining uncertainty at QB and across the lineup.

Now the question is, where do they go from here? What can they do to get back on track after finishing 9-8 and out of the playoffs?

You came to the right place. Here are five steps to help fix the Saints:

1. Clear cap space

It wouldn't be a Saints offseason without this as the top priority, would it? A year after maneuvering through a dire cap situation, general manager Mickey Loomis once again has tens of millions to clear off the books before anything else can be done. This should -- and likely will -- mean early cuts of replacement-level vets like Bradley Roby (saves $9.5 million) and Mark Ingram ($2.3M). But it will surely also mean approaching some bigger names, like Malcolm Jenkins and Cameron Jordan , for pay cuts.

2. Get creative at QB

And no, this doesn't mean re-sign Jameis Winston just to deploy a cute three-man rotation with Ian Book and Taysom Hill . Who do you think they are, the Panthers ? Winston absolutely deserves a second look as the potential QB1 considering the confidence he displayed early in 2021, and his price tag should be reasonable due to his unfortunate knee injury. But Payton and Co. also shouldn't settle on Winston as their only option. In fact, he should be Plan B, or just one part of Plan A. With the No. 18 pick in the draft, New Orleans needs to consider any top QB prospect that happens to slide within reach. And if, somehow, Payton's able to get a more proven starter like Russell Wilson or even Kirk Cousins , he shouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger.

3. Shop Michael Thomas

Some reports would indicate they started doing this a while ago, and it's entirely unclear what the former All-Pro would even bring in return at this point. Once one of the surest-handed targets in the NFL, the three-time Pro Bowler has played all of seven games the last two years. He's still just 28, though, and two seasons removed from a 1,700-yard season. But the Saints should be looking to both clear money and get younger and more reliable out wide. If they can designate him a post-June 1 trade -- or, in the event zero meaningful offers materialize, a post-June 1 cut -- they'll save almost $16M.

4. Retain Terron Armstead and/or Marcus Williams

In other words, their top two free agents. This won't be easy, as Loomis needs to trim something like $60M+ before addressing his own players. But it's imperative, if the Saints intend on competing in 2021, they secure at least one of these guys. Armstead has more value as a proven left tackle, especially if New Orleans is betting on Winston again or, better yet, bringing in a hotshot rookie or Pro Bowl veteran to take over. But Williams is also one of the game's rangiest young defensive backs, and Jenkins -- his top running mate -- could soon be nearing the end of the line at 34.

5. Invest at WR

This may appear to run counter to the earlier point about shopping Thomas, but remember, the Saints haven't had their No. 1 pass catcher on the field for most of the last two years. They need guys who can suit up. Money, as usual, is the dilemma here, unless Loomis really back-loads a deal for a big name like Allen Robinson or Odell Beckham Jr . One way or another, they need at least one starter added on the perimeter. Winston made things work early in 2021, but he or whomever is throwing passes in 2022 deserves better support through the air.

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Old 01-13-2022, 04:28 PM   #6
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

Here is the link our resident ******* did not provide...

https://www.espn.com/blog/new-orlean...michael-thomas
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:45 PM   #7
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

Cutting MT to draft another WR were going to end up paying the same amount or more money doesn't make sense to me. If we already had another a WR lets s ay Callaway with MT production this year I would understand that a bit more but MT is your best option hands down....Why did they sign MT anyway if you're going to trade him when his value is more now than ever as far as the saints go. I honestly feel like the trade talk has no real substance really believe its just blog talk
I dont believe no one pays the what the Saints would want from a trade for MT....IDK I feel like trading MT rn would be bad for tht business the Saints are in it for so they say....WINNING
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Old 01-13-2022, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

Bahahahaha!
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Old 01-14-2022, 08:07 AM   #9
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

File this in the "WHY NOT LAST SEASON" folder:

Jared Cook. Los Angeles Chargers, TE
Cook earned $1 million for catching 48 passes this season, his highest total since 2018. He hit the incentive number exactly but fell four touchdowns shy of the eight TDs he needed for an extra $500,000.
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Old 01-14-2022, 02:30 PM   #10
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Re: 2022 New Orleans Saints Off-Season Decisions

My take WhoDat brothers is this:

Prepare for Jameis to be our QB. Two years invested. Affordable. Performed admirably. He's awkward as hell but the team loves him.

"Saints Cap Issues" is the new global warming - it's the fear we hear year after year. Yet we are but pimples on the earth's a$$.

Convert salaries. Use the money to surround crab legs with talent.

That probably includes MThomas unless the situation is untenable. And only a team who thinks to themselves "How can I get another Antonio Brown on my roster" will be interested. Al Davis is dead so it ain't happening.

Armstead. Yes. While it seems like he's been here 15 years, he's only 31 at the start of next season. Leader. Cerebral. Monster games.

Peat. We're stuck with that jar of mayonnaise unless someone else likes gross condiments more than we do and I don't see that as possible.

Ruiz. Has to improve. Can he with a more stable line? I think so. But I hate Michigan so I won't be hurt.

Trequan. Pass. Only idiots pull their helmets off and then immediately try to head-bump their helmeted teammate.

PJ Williams. Keep him. At 29 years old he should retire in New Orleans as the guy who gets paid to start on of three positions when called.

Kwon. Energy. Skills. Obviously a cyborg. Keep him.

Trevor. Good luck on someone's practice squad man. You've earned it.
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We may be forced to reconsider gender identity because the USWTA is showing bigger balls than LeBron.
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