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The five best New Orleans Saints free agent signings under Sean Payton (excluding Drew Brees)

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Now that the tidal waves have calmed from the splashes made in NFL Free Agency, it’s time to reflect. Signing Brandon Browner and C.J. Spiller certainly have all the makings of a ‘match made in heaven’ for the New Orleans Saints. After all, both were highly coveted free agents heading into this offseason. Although they weren’t among the immediate splashes in the NFL’s Free Agency frenzy, it was all about the right fit.

At the beginning of March, I gave you my five worst free agent signings in the Sean Payton era. Today, I’m here to give you my five best signings. However, there’s a twist. Drew Brees isn’t going to be on this list. There’s almost no doubt in any football realm that he’s the top, so he’s going to be excluded from my top five.

Let’s start with my honorable mentions: Curtis Lofton (2012), Ben Grubbs (2012), Keenan Lewis (2013)

Curtis Lofton left the Atlanta Falcons following the 2011 season after being told that he wasn’t regarded as a three-down linebacker, Lofton led the New Orleans Saints in tackles since 2012. He was a true iron man, never missing a game, and was heralded as a great leader on defense.

Ben Grubbs was brought in to the Saints organization after the departure of Carl Nicks. Grubbs was coming off of several strong seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, including a Pro Bowl season in 2011. His three-year stint with the Saints featured a Pro Bowl selection in 2013.

Keenan Lewis has been an absolute breath of fresh air for the New Orleans Saints, and primarily responsible for the defense’s giant turnaround from the league’s worst defense in 2012. As a native of the Westbank, Lewis ‘came home’ in 2013, and is clearly passionate about his team, city, and fans. He’s one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league, and should benefit from the addition of Brandon Browner.

Next: No. 5 - As Good as it Gets