Sept 13, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) during the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 NFL draft is over, but believe it or not, NFL free agency continues all the way up until the kickoff of the 2013 NFL season. For the New Orleans Saints, this means the team has plenty of options to choose from if head coach Sean Payton and Co. feel like adding more talent to the roster.
Talented names such as Charles Woodson, Dwight Freeney and more are still looking for new homes. While it is debatable how much each has left in the tanks, they are players who could still be considered.
The Saints have a little cap room to work with after the trade that sent running back Chris Ivory to the New York Jets, as Nakia Hogan of NOLA.com pointed out:
Subtract about a million or so to sign draft picks, and New Orleans has a little wiggle room to bring in another free agent if it so chooses. It can also restructure any of the contracts on the roster to create even more space.
The harsh reality, which works in the Saints’ favor, is that any free agents left over after the draft aren’t worth what they were demanding. If they guys left really want to play football again, they’ll take less money.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few guys the Saints could still attempt to bring in if the price is right.
S Charles Woodson
Jan 5, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson (21) celebrates a play during the fourth quarter of the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. The Packers won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve talked about Charles Woodson as a possibility for the Saints before and the addition of Kenny Vaccaro via the first round of the draft doesn’t change anything.
That tends to happen when the players on your roster put up the worst statistical defense in NFL history.
Vaccaro provides some versatility, but he’s young. Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper were awful last year and there’s a chance one or the other is losing their starting job to Vaccaro if he has a good preseason.
What better way to mentor Vaccaro than to bring in a future Hall-of-Famer? Not to mention Woodson still has something left to offer on the field, even if it’s just on a rotational basis.
Woodson makes sense if the price is right.
OLB Dwight Freeney
November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Dwight Freeney (93) rushes during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Indianapolis Colts defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Dwight Freeney wasn’t very good with the Indianapolis Colts last season as the coaching staff asked him to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme for the first time in his career.
That said, the Colts attempted to use him as an every-down linebacker.
New Orleans could sign Freeney for cheap and only play him as a situational pass-rusher. Freeney hasn’t accumulated over 100 career sacks by accident—he’d be an effective option for the defense if used in the proper manner—which you know defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will do.
DE Richard Seymour
October 21, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour (92) acknowledges the crowd after making a defensive stop on third down against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
This is going to be quite the unpopular notion, but Richard Seymour has plenty left in the tank to offer a team of any schematic need.
Seymour’s issue is he won’t lower his asking price.
At some point, Seymour is going to realize he can’t get paid what he wants. Once this happens, he will want to go somewhere that gives him a chance to win a Super Bowl (well, maybe).
New Orleans could be that destination. Seymour is stout in all phases of the game and would immediately provide an upgrade in the trenches. His presence might block some younger guys from getting playing time, but that’s not really any different than what Will Smith is doing, right?
LB Karlos Dansby
Dec. 23, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Karlos Dansby (58) during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Why Karlos Dansby is still on the free-agent market is difficult to figure out. At 31-years-old he has plenty left to offer a team. Miami only cut ties with him because he was going to be making too much money.
Last year alone, Dansby racked up a ridiculous 134 tackles. Now, inside linebacker is not the biggest need for the Saints, but you have to think if the price is cheap, Dansby has to be in consideration.
Not only does Dansby have experience in a 3-4, he’s a natural leader who still has three or four quality years left. Right now, New Orleans needs leadership and production on the defensive side of the ball. Dansby brings both.