July 6, 2022

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New Orleans Saints NFL offseason preview: What’s going to life after Sean Payton appear to be? – New Orleans Saints Weblog

METAIRIE, La. – First quarterback Drew Brees. Now coach Sean Payton.

The New Orleans Saints have misplaced the 2 most iconic figures in franchise historical past over the previous 12 months. However they’ve made it clear they don’t intend to rebuild below coach Dennis Allen, regardless of some vital salary-cap hurdles. The Saints imagine their roster is loaded with sufficient expertise, particularly on protection, to contend in a wide-open NFC South division that now not contains future Corridor of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.

The Saints completed 9-8, lacking the playoffs for the primary time in 5 years. However that was an admirable effort contemplating that they had so many accidents and COVID-19 points that they set an NFL report with 58 totally different starters utilized in a season — together with 4 quarterbacks after Jameis Winston tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 8. And that whole didn’t even embrace receiver Michael Thomas or kicker Wil Lutz, each of whom missed your entire season with accidents.

If the Saints could make the precise alternative at quarterback and make it by means of the season just a bit more healthy, they need to contend for the South title.

Projected salary-cap house: $74 million over the projected cap

High free brokers: QB Jameis Winston, LT Terron Armstead, S Marcus Williams, LB Kwon Alexander, DB P.J. Williams, WR Tre’Quan Smith, QB Trevor Siemian

Potential minimize candidates: Consider it or not, the Saints don’t have to chop anyone to get below the cap. They’ll transfer greater than $100 million in cap fees into future years by means of their typical methodology of bonus restructures. Nonetheless, cornerback Bradley Roby is a candidate for launch or pay minimize since he’s due $10 million and was solely a part-time participant in 2021. Additionally, Armstead and Alexander may very well be too costly to maintain in free company.

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The massive query: Who will play quarterback? Winston might be the front-runner since he proved to be an excellent slot in 2021 with 14 landing passes and three interceptions earlier than he tore an ACL. Nonetheless, there isn’t any assure he’ll be again since he’s an unsigned free agent and nonetheless rehabbing. The Saints may additionally think about a reunion with free agent Teddy Bridgewater, amongst different choices.

Nonetheless, don’t be shocked if the Saints intention for the highest of the QB market with a possible commerce for somebody like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers. They won’t be capable of make one of the best provide, since they don’t decide till 18th within the draft, however they’ll think about all choices.

Irrespective of who performs quarterback, although, the Saints’ second precedence shall be shoring up the receiving corps and offensive line.

Greatest-case situation for the Saints’ offseason: Along with getting the precise quarterback on the proper value, it will be large to get Thomas again wholesome and taking part in at an All-Professional degree. Though there was some friction between Thomas and the group in 2020, there was no indication they plan to commerce him. He may go a great distance towards resurrecting a passing offense that fell flat in 2021.

Worst-case situation for the Saints’ offseason: Getting outbid by groups with extra cap house. Though the Saints will handle their funds aggressively, it’s attainable that different groups will outbid them for all of their prime quarterback targets and steal away key free brokers like Williams, Armstead and Alexander.

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Early take a look at the NFL draft, from ESPN analyst Jordan Reid: That is an attention-grabbing offseason for the Saints. With Allen taking on, bettering within the secondary may very well be a key level early on. The largest query of the offseason shall be at quarterback. Taking a rookie signal-caller may give them extra monetary reduction sooner or later.

High wants: CB, S, QB

High decide: No. 18