The New Orleans Saints had a great offseason. But, were their improvements consistent enough to keep them as one of the league’s top teams?
The short answer is yes. The Saints had a terrific offseason, one better than most other top-tier teams. Adding another threat in Emmanuel Sanders was an absolutely necessary move that should pay off well.
Then we get to their draft. Cesar Ruiz, Adam Trautman, and Zach Baun were all terrific additions and will fill both short and long-term issues. After that, we saw the team release Larry Warford, saving about $8 million in cap space.
We haven’t even talked about the most insane addition yet, the signing of the 2019 passing yards leader, Jameis Winston.
Winston joined the Big Easy for a severely under market value and could prove to be the face of the Saints for the next few years if he can show Sean Payton and the staff that he can limit his turnovers.
That said, how did the Saints offseason rank among the league’s best? Bill Barnwell, a columnist ESPN, ranked it No. 9. He put the team’s NFC South’s division rival Tampa Bay in the No. 1 slot which makes sense given the addition of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Here’s what Barnwell wrote on New Orleans (more is in the link this is just an excerpt).
“The Saints brought back Drew Brees! While the odds of Brees playing somewhere else seemed remote, well, ask the Patriots about remote odds. It was always going to be tough to keep Teddy Bridgewater as the primary backup, but the Saints were able to get a relative bargain in their one-year, $1.1 million deal with Jameis Winston. Even if Winston is just the inconsistent quarterback we saw over five years in Tampa Bay, that sort of money is well below market value for a borderline starting quarterback,” ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote.
Barnwell added a bit about the Saints cap and how they managed to get the most out of their limited space. He also went on to note that the only bad part of the team’s offseason was the second-year extension of Taysom Hill, one that’ll be valued at more than $16 million.
Most should think that Hill’s second-year extension was a bit premature, and Barnwell offers some clear points of skepticism to add to that. However, it’s clear the team views him as the future and pays him as such.
We’ll see if that works out.