With the new year being rung in, the New Orleans Saints will start fresh as well and try to put the up and down 7-9 season behind them. Along the way to that fresh start, there will be many changes likely with the Saints roster with some cuts being made or players leaving via free agency.
Free agents not likely to return
DT Sedrick Ellis–production decline; hasn’t lived up to 1st round potential.
OT Jermon Bushrod–will want more money than the club can offer and will follow the path of former Saints Jonathan Goodwin and Carl Nicks.
WR Devery Henderson–production decline; other receivers ready to move up in his spot like Joe Morgan and Nick Toon.
LB Scott Shanle–medicore player; a healthy inactive for half the season tells the tale.
DE Turk McBride–not an impact playermaker; durability issues with ankle.
Restructure or Release?
S Roman Harper–he somehow manages to survive the cut each year. However Harper is due, with bonuses, $7.1 million for 2013 and $7.9 million for 2014.
LB Jonathan Vilma–with bonuses he is due $6.5 million in 2103 and his production doesn’t warrant it. Put aside the fan favorite label and the one great game he had against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday and you’ll see more clearly.
DE Will Smith–the most glaring but obvious of the debate. With bonuses he is owed $14.5 million for 2013 with an option for the Saints to pick up a $13.9 million salary for 2014. Don’t know if Smith will take that drastic of a paycut and his production this year doesn’t warrant a huge payday.
Straight out release
LB Will Herring–was brought on to play at linebacker but durability issues and ho-hum play dropped him to playing on special teams.
CB Johnny Patrick–had a good rookie year but his sophomore season has been atrocious. You can blame the new scheme but he dropped from being a starter going into the 2012 training camp to backing up Elbert Mack who was backing up rookie Corey White before he was placed on IR.