Proven players are returning to the Big Easy and the New Orleans Saints, paving way to constant consistency.
Fanbases all across sports love dependable front offices and rosters. A team full of consistent players, especially starters, breeds excellence and team culture. Many dynasties would not have developed had it not been for general managers and coaches retaining players who had played well for the team in past seasons. This is most apparent and important in the NFL, mainly due to the much larger possibility of parity compared to other leagues.
Sometimes, teams don’t even let certain players test free agency. Other times, players sign for a second or even third stint with a certain team after playing for others in between. Even more players sign with the same team either right as free agency starts or after testing the market for a bit. The latter two are the most common this offseason for the New Orleans Saints, who have currently signed/re-signed 7 former players this offseason.
This is good need to Saints fans, as it shows how confident both Micky Loomis and Sean Payton feel about these players. They’ve all had chances to prove their worth with great play on the team, and have been brought back to continue improving the roster. A confidence in consistency is shedding light into the 2017-2018 season and many to come. Here are the 7 free agents returning to the Big Easy, detailing their contracts and importance to the Saints.
QB Chase Daniel
1-year, $900K: The backup quarterback began his career in New Orleans. After bouncing around from Kansas City to Philadelphia, Daniel is back with the Saints, once again, to backup Drew Brees. Daniel is usually praised as being the best 2nd string quarterback guy in the league, so having him back is a great sign. The team is in much better shape having Daniel on the bench, as he is the best guy to have in case your quarterback goes down with an injury.
S Rafael Bush
1-year, $855K: Bush began his career in Atlanta, but played his best years in New Orleans from 2012-2015. He had a career-high 55 tackles in 2014 and a career-high 5 passes defended in 2013. A brief season in Detroit had Bush back on the market. Having Bush’s skill returning to the team greatly improves the safety depth on this team.
TE John Phillips
1-year, $980K: A 6th round pick in 2009, Phillips bounced from the Cowboys, Chargers and Broncos before landing with the Saints last season. 55 career receptions for 390 yards and 5 touchdowns make Phillips a perfect fit along Coby Fleener and Josh Hill. Used in mainly blocking formations, Phillips will be a key piece in the rush game and in being a consistent target for Brees.
CB Sterling Moore
1-year, $900K: Moore has become an NFL journeyman, with his best years happening in New England. Moore was part of the 2012 AFC Champion Patriots team, which featured him as the number one cornerback. That veteran presence, experience and play factored in nicely a season ago, as Moore continued to be the top corner for the Saints.
RB Travaris Cadet
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1-year, $855K: Cadet has been an underrated staple in the Saints backfield since he signed with the team as an undrafted rookie in 2012. Providing the speed, receiver-hybrid back the team needs, Cadet works as a fantastic backup to Mark Ingram. His best fit is in the passing game, as he complied 281 receiving yards in 2016 and 296 receiving yards in 2014 (both with New Orleans). This is the second consecutive contract of Cadet’s second stint with the team, showing constant loyalty on both sides.
DT Nick Fairley
4-years, $28M: Piling 6.5 sacks last season, Fairley had a career (and team-leading) season in his first with the Saints. The former 13th overall pick was at first believed to be a one-season wonder/experiment with New Orleans. Fortunately, he performed superbly, making Fairley an importance piece for a potentially-great defense and a mentor of young stud, Sheldon Rankins. The best part about Fairley coming back was his enthusiasm and dedication to the Big Easy. He reportedly didn’t even field offers from or talk to any other teams besides the Saints.
DE Darryl Tapp
1-year, $1.08M: The 6’1″, 270-pound edge rusher rose to prominence early in his career with the Seahawks. The 32-year old is going to be another great mentor on the team, especially if the Saints decide to draft a defensive end in 2017. Tapp has compiled 327 tackles, 28.0 sacks, and 11 forced fumbles in his career, and looks to add to those stellar numbers in the Big Easy.
Not only do all of these players provide great play on the field and mentorship off. They also were signed to very affordable and beneficial contracts for the team. Fairley was the only one to receive a multi-year deal, and him and Tapp were the only two to sign deals worth more than $1 million. That’s an important aspect considering it frees up more cap space for newer and younger players in the future.
Retaining raving and proven players is always a great move by any front office. These 7 returning free agents have done more than just shown they can play in the NFL. They have all shown what it means to embody the heart of a New Orleans Saint. From backup McCown to surfing starter Fairley, all of these men are welcomed back with open arms by both the front office and fan base. Hats off to Mickey Loomis for bringing back 7 key pieces to a championship run for the Saints.