The New Orleans Saints, without question, must address at least one of the voids at offensive guard in the free agent market.
The answer to why the New Orleans Saints must do such a thing is simple — Drew Brees. Sure, the draft is always a nice place to upgrade your team, and the Saints should take an additional guard in the selection process.
But with the departure of Jahri Evans and inconsistency of Tim Lelito, New Orleans has two voids to fill at the guard position. Maybe we’ll see improvements this offseason, but Lelito and Senio Kelemete, who are both actually free agents (should be re-signed), provide nothing more than depth (good depth) at the moment.
An ideal scenario would be sign a guard, draft one, and re-sign Lelito and Kelemete. At 37-years-old, Drew Brees needs his protection now more than ever, and gambling on one with no NFL experience in the draft to start, while plugging in Lelito or Kelemete on the other side would be a huge mistake.
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The New Orleans Saints must use free agency to add a well-polished and proven veteran to come in and immediately take the place of the departed Jahri Evans. It’s as simple as that. Then, they can draft a guard to come in and compete for the other starting job, and hopefully be good enough to win it.
The good thing is, Saints head coach Sean Payton is well aware of all of the above. He said Thursday that addressing the guard position and front-seven are top priority this offseason, whether it be in free agency or the NFL Draft. Both would be ideal, but everybody knows that.
So, while we’re talking about finding a proven veteran in the free agent market, let’s take a look at three possibilities. I have a good feeling New Orleans will be the new home to one of these guys by early/mid-March. And if any of them have been paying attention, they should know New Orleans can offer more than most teams, given the importance of their quarterback situation.
Next: 3. The Big Ragu