The first week of OTA(s) for the defending Super Bowl champion Saints is currently underway after getting off to a later than usual start fresh off a rather whirlwind off-season and their first ever championship.
Four restricted free agents still remained unsigned as the deadline on when a team can reduce a tendered offer to 110% of a players base salary looms in the distance.
Wide receiver Lance Moore, strong safety Roman Harper, running back Pierre Thomas and left tackle Jammal Brown have yet to agree to the offers the team has made.
Both Moore and Harper have opted to participate in team activities while waiting on hopeful contract extensions but Thomas and Brown are holding out in an apparent attempt to force the Saints hand in contract negotiations.
In fairness Thomas’ absence from OTA’s could stem from a family issue as it has been reported, not confirmed, that a cousin of his was shot in his hometown of Chicago.
“Air” Pierre Thomas, who earned the nickname after a leap into the end zone during the Saints Super Bowl win against the Colts, has led the Saints in rushing the past two seasons after becoming the 1-A back alongside Reggie Bush.
In 2009 Thomas rushed for 793 yards on 147 attempts with six rushing touchdowns averaging 5.4 yards a carry. He also had 39 receptions for 302 yards and two touchdowns.
He has developed into one of the Saints most versatile weapons and it is expected that he will receive a multi-year extension to remain in New Orleans.
Left tackle Jammal Brown’s case is a little more complicated than Thomas’ missing the entire 2009 season after under going several surgeries to repair lingering hip problems and a sport hernia suffered during training camp.
Backup tackle Jermon Bushrod filled in for Brown during his absence shocking everyone with his solid play throughout the season, this led to talks of the teams desire to trade him away during the draft including a rumored trade for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth from the Washington Redskins.
The team also drafted another young tackle taking USC’s Charles Brown with the 64th pick in the second round further clouding Jammal’s future as a Saint.
Nothing ever was ever substantiated that the Saints were indeed looking to unload Brown or that they are willing to hand his starting role to Bushrod or C. Brown, so clearly at the current moment he is still a part of the teams plans moving forward.
Jahri Evans who is widely considered the best right guard in the league recently signed the most lucrative contract in league history for a right guard with Saints — 56.7 million over seven years — and you can bet Brown is looking at becoming the highest paid left tackle in league history with the Saints as well.