Saints free agency: The moves to date and their impact
By Tony Twillie
The signing of Nick Easton, from Minnesota who will be tapped to play center here, is curious. First, we must note that the free agent market for centers was thin. Easton has played center most of his life but his NFL experience is primarily at guard.. The Saints weren’t financially able to break the bank on one of the top-level centers, so they signed Easton. They are banking on the hope he’ll shape into a solid NFL center.
Some look at the money and might say they overpaid for him. Yes, and no. Yes, overpaid considering his lack of NFL experience at that spot. No, not overpaid considering the Saints’ need at that spot and market value. Easton has never graded out well on the offensive line, so this one will be one to watch through mini-camps and training camp. But the issue is Saints center Max Unger let the Saints know earlier that he would likely be retiring. The Saints had to have pondered the issue a while and felt this was the best way to go.
Jared Cook was the premier free agent TE on the board, but like the center market, the TE market was thin and soft. Many teams had other more pressing needs. As well, Cook is not a run blocker, he’s a receiving TE. Not being multi-dimensional hurts him. His age hurts him. While we like the thought that he made the Pro Bowl for his work this season, this was a contract year for him, and many players go all in for the season when they’re about to make good money.
So while Cook is attractive on the surface, he’s also one we will watch closely as to his work ethic, age related slowing, and overall ability as he gets to catch passes from one of the greatest to ever play.
All these moves address needs, but did the Saints really make a difference? I don’t know that we can look at any of this as definitively making a difference, and that should be a little troubling to the Who Dat Nation.