New Orleans Saints Offseason Preview: Is the team safe at safety?
The free agency market
The only major free agents at strong safety are Indianapolis’ Clayton Geathers and the Ravens’ Tony Jefferson.
Both those guys would be playing next season at 28 years old while Bell only turns 26 in December. Geathers’ hasn’t been as productive as Bell and even though he’s been in the league a season longer, he hasn’t played as many games as Bell.
Jefferson was recently released by Baltimore for PED use. We saw how that played out for Kenny Vaccaro here a few years back, so Jefferson isn’t likely on the Saints’ radar.
Dallas’ Jeff Heath is the only other strong safety of note on the FA list. He’s been Dallas’ starter for three seasons now. He’s a better ball guy than the others but not as good a tackler.
I guess it’s the give and take of strong safety play – you get one or the other, not necessarily both. And when you find a guy who can do both, he end up being a Polamalu or Darren Woodson, among the best ever.
Considering the lack of talent on the market and the fact that the Saints really like their defense overall, it stands to reason that they’ll do what they can to hold on to Bell. He may not be the pass defender they’d like him to be, but he’s absolutely what they look for in the box.
He’s basically a third linebacker, smaller and faster, and a sure solid tackler.
There is no Ed Reed type safety on the Saints defense, nor a Troy Polamalu or Donnie Shell.
There isn’t even a Sammy Knight out here. But the safeties on the Saints defense have been good players and have done their share to contribute to the Saints combined 47-11 record over the last three seasons.