It’s no secret the New Orleans Saints need pass rushers, especially since Steve Spagnuolo took over the defense earlier this year.
Spagnuolo joins the Saints after three season as the St. Louis Rams head coach, and he brings with him a more complex defensive style that relies heavily on pressure from the defensive line.
Prior, the Saints defense was all blitz under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. A change in philosophy has been long overdue.
Currently the Saints are a little short of defensive linemen, moreover pass rush defensive ends.
Starting right defensive end Will Smith is supposed to begin serving a four-game suspension at the start of the season, his penalty for alleged involvement in Williams “bounty” program.
To make matters worse the team also lost promising defensive end Greg Romeus to a season ending knee injury during mini-camp a month ago.
Sure, there is still some talent at the position, with Turk McBride, Cameron Jordan, and converted linebacker Martez Wilson, but the Saints truly lack an elite game-changing defensive end.
Enter Andre Carter, currently a free agent, and former New England Patriot defensive end who totaled 10 sacks in 14 games last season.
Carter tore his left quadriceps tendon and missed the remainder of the regular season as well as the playoffs early in a game against the Broncos week 15.
But reports say Carter is getting healthy and in-shape, even rehabbing at the Patriots facility recently with their team trainers.
Carter says he is now “jumping, squatting, coming out of my stance, cutting. Making positive strides.” Carter also said he ran almost two miles on the beach on Wednesday so indications are very good that he’ll be healthy for 2012. — Rotoworld.com
Carter is a true 4-3 defensive end, and coming off an injury could sign with the Saints on the cheap.
New Orleans is reported to have around $8-million in cap space after Drew Brees record breaking deal, thanks to the bulk of his money coming way as a signing bonus.
Also when middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma begins serving his season long suspension, the Saints will recoup his salary, pushing the available money up near $13-million.
With that kind of extra cash laying around, Mickey Loomis could surely stitch together a team friendly deal to acquire Carter.
But the Saints may want to move a little faster to have any chance at signing him as rumor has it the Patriots are still interest in bringing him back.
New England has two roster spots open towards the 90-man training camp limit, and Carter is a leading candidate to fill one of these spots.
He has been rehabbing at the teams facility, and he certainly desires a return to the Patriots.
Patriots still on the radar for you? “We’ll see. Everybody always asks me, and I say ‘hopefully it’s still there.’ Until then, the passion is still there for me to play, and constantly get better, and hopefully somebody has the opportunity to pick me up. I put it in God’s will. I’m feeling better. I’m feeling good. It was definitely a constant grind, this particular rehab, but I’ll tell you what, it was a great offseason, despite the fact that I was limited. I learned a lot about the human anatomy. This injury, just to be on that bed rest, then have the brace on for a long time, then it’s ‘what’s the next step?’ – learning how to walk normal, because I had walked with a hitch…” — ESPN.com
Carter is the best option available in free agency, assuming he is and can stay healthy.
James Hall has also been linked to the Saints as a potential option considering he totaled six sacks with the St. Louis Rams last season in Spagnulo’s defense.
Hall remains unsigned to date.
Dwight Freeney’s name has been thrown around as one that could potentially land the with Saints.
Reports say the Colts are trying to shop him, but his addition in New Orleans seems far fetched considering his potential price tag.
Topics: Andre Carter, Cameron Jordan, Free Agency, Greg Romeus, Gregg Williams, Injured Reserve, Martez Wilson, New England Patriots, New Orleasns Saints, NFL, Saints, Steve Spagnuolo, The Saints, Turk McBride, Will Smith