Reflecting On The Saints’ “All-In” Approach
Why do the Saints have such a lack of clarity at the quarterback position? It all stems from their organizational strategy.
In 2017, they were at a crossroads. Brees was clearly ending the end of his playing career, and the team had posted three consecutive 7-9 seasons.
However, they were on the right end of variance in the draft, which led to them restocking their roster with cheap, cost-controlled talent. Thus, they were able to escape the purgatory that is known as mediocrity.
They had a chance to build off of that, but after going 11-5 in 2017, New Orleans decided to go “all-in” for a Super Bowl title under Brees. That meant spending big on veterans in free agency, in addition to mortgaging draft capital.
First, they sent two first-round picks to the Packers to trade up for edge rusher Marcus Davenport.
While Davenport has been a fine player, he plays a position that simply doesn’t move the needle in today’s game, and is also one where the learning curve in steep. Thus, relying on him, as a rookie, to be their missing piece was foolish.
That’s not all, though. They traded a third-round pick for Bridgewater and a fourth-round pick for cornerback Eli Apple, and that didn’t stop them from leveraging two second-round picks for center Erik McCoy, hoping to shore up a short-term need.
Then, in 2020, despite being several limited with draft capital, they still traded up for both linebacker Zack Baun and tight end Adam Trautman.
In other words, the Saints have approached fixing their roster like “wack-a-mole”; they just try to shore up holes as they persist. There hasn’t been much in the way of long-term team building, and the consequences will soon be evident.
Currently, they are over $-90 million in cap space for next season, depending on how far the cap goes down, and are now without a third-round pick after trading up for Baun.
They’ll have to cut ties with several veteran players to stay afloat, and from there, still won’t have the resources to add a quarterback. That simply isn’t how one should go about addressing the league’s most important position.