Saints prove predictable in free agency but what’s next?
By Tony Twillie
Where does this leave the Saints?
There are still holes. We should find out soon how well the meeting with TE Jared Cook went. The Ziggy Ansah meeting now holds a lot of weight since Alex Okafor signed with Kansas City. An aside: we paid Okafor basically $7 million for 2 seasons. He was hitting his stride when he tore his Achilles tendon two seasons ago. He became a rotational player this year, posting moderate to decent numbers, but nothing special. KC signs him for three years, $18 million? Potential to get to $24 million? That was overcompensating for the loss of Dee Ford.
Ansah may be a little expensive for the Saints taste, and the may roll with rookie Marcus Davenport and rotate him with Trey Hendrickson and possibly look elsewhere for the backup help they need there. Also, this could all hinge on the Jared Cook thing. If they spend a bit to get Cook, then Ansah will likely be off the Saints radar.
The Saints also hosted defensive tackle/end Mario Edwards. Again, there is now a ton of need at that spot so picking up a couple of guys there wouldn’t be surprising. If the Cook deal doesn’t work out, that would especially seem logical, getting a few more bodies.
As well, there are Saints players who are free agents that could still end up back here. We won the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes, which is positive. The bigger names it would make sense to keep around would be wide receiver Dez Bryant and the earlier mentioned Tyeler Davison.
Bryant might be the player to take Ingram’s spot as a locker room inspirational leader, should he come back healthy from his injury. Also worth keeping is P.J. Williams. He had a decent year in the slot in the place of the injured Patrick Robinson. He can also play outside , a little, if needed, with P-Rob coming back next season from his injury.
Ken Crawley’s low-ball tender likely won’t be exceeded, so he’ll probably return as well and hopefully to his 2017 form and not the 2016 or 2018 form.
The Saints also love offensive line depth, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them resign either Josh LeRibeus or Jermon Bushrod, or both. Bushrod provided decent work in the absence of Terron Armstead and with Armstead being somewhat injury prone, having a solid tackle backup is a must. LeRibeus is probably a shade above Cameron Tom as a reserve guard, but sometimes the teams need to let players understand their value before making deals, so they let them hit the free agent market.
The big moves are likely done, and this could be the place where the Saints do their best work – filling holes and plugging gaps with well-scouted middle of the pack guys. Here’s hoping the Saints free agent haul is as good this year as the last couple of years have been.