Retaing the core group of player was important, these guys have been part of a team that’s put together the most successful back-to-back seasons in club history. This is how it’s supposed to work, said Williams,
a coaching veteran who has seen his share of good and bad programs during his 22-year career. “I think it speaks volumes for how Sean (Payton) and Mickey (Loomis) want this place to be run.
It just reinforces how important the draft is, that you’re not out there every other season trying to build your team exclusively through free agency, Payton said. It reinforces the importance of bringing in the right type of players.
Harper said Saturday the Saints’ winning culture and positive atmosphere were major factors in his decision to re-sign with the Saints, despite serious interest from other clubs. Linebacker Scott Shanle echoed those sentiments.
At this stage, free agency has become a complementary tool for the Saints. The club uses it to supplement a roster stacked with draft picks, not vice versa.
Unrestricted free agents from other teams like defensive tackle Shaun Rogers and running back Darren Sproles are targeted and signed to fill specific holes, earlier in the Saints history,
these type of players would been hard to sign prior to having a winning atmosphere.
As the Saints have built their program, their dependency on outside help has declined each season. I think the top priority is always to re-sign your own guys when you have a good team, Loomis said.
And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not done yet. We’ve still got some guys who are important to us and we’d like to have back.
So our work’s not done in that area. You know, we had a few targets, players from other teams. And we got some of them, and some we didn’t.
We’ve got a number of our guys still out there, and I don’t want anyone to think that this is over with. It’s not.”
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