It’s an uncertain time for NFL franchises given the current state of negotiations for a new CBA between the NFLPA and team owners as the March 4th deadline looms.
Should a deal not be reached by then the NFL faces the very real possibility of a work stoppage that would put the 2011 season in jeopardy, it will also prevent free agency from taking place.
That has not stopped the Saints from signing some free agents to future contracts however signing three defensive tackles, a linebacker and two guards.
Mitch King, Tom Johnson and Swanson Miller are the three defensive tackles that have been signed.
King went undrafted in 2008 out of the University of Iowa and signed with the Tennessee Titans where he spent his time on the practice squad before bouncing to the Colts, followed by the Rams and Saints practice squads last season.
Miller came out of Oklahoma State last season and went undrafted, catching 0n with the Cleveland Browns, but was released prior to the start of the regular season.
He was added to the Saints practice squad after DeMario Pressley was signed by the Texans to their active roster, was released in December, and is now back in the mix for a bigger role on the teams defensive line.
Tom Johnson is the marquee player of the three to sign with the Saints, who was a West Division all-star last season with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.
Johnson agreed to a three year deal with the Saints for a reported 1.8M if key incentives are hit.
Guard Brian de la Puenta has been in the league since 2008 spending time with the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers.
Roger Allen spent the last two seasons with the Rams seeing some game time in their season final against the 49ers in 2009 after an injury to starter Mark Setterstrom.
Linebacker Ezra Butler was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent on 2008 but was later released after being arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
Butler has had two different stints with the Las Vegas Locomotives (2009,2010) spending time with the New York Jets in between. He won two UFL championships while a member of the Locomotives.