Saints 2021 NFL Draft will be about replacing free agency losses

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

With several starters preparing for free agency, the New Orleans Saints will have to dominate the 2021 NFL Draft to continue their dominance in the NFC.

The New Orleans Saints won’t be able to replace all the talent that they’ll likely lose this offseason, so the 2021 NFL Draft will prove to be pivotal for adding the skill set that is needed to retain their spot atop the NFC South.

The team has at least three players that they will need decisions from. Along those lines, the Saints will need to know in the near future whether or not Drew Brees is coming back, and with his restructured contract, that’s looking more and more unlikely.

Brees’ restructured deal will give the Saints $24 million in cap space which will help solve their $100 million problem. Even with Brees making yet another heroic effort for the city, the franchise will need to make a few tough decisions.

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins will both hit the market. Hendrickson is much more likely to get a big-time offer that the Saints will have a difficult time matching.

As for Rankins, he may also get a deal that the team wouldn’t match. FanSided laid out how he was a player that could earn big money in a contract year, and that holds true following the 2020 season.

Those two will command big contract, as will safety Marcus Williams. A top young safety hitting the market will intrigue teams, especially given how the league has shifted more towards pass-heavy offenses. Williams was preseason ranked a top under-25 player.

That said, those three may all depart.

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With Brees in there as well, the potential release of Kwon Alexander and Nick Easton and the likely parting ways of tight end Jared Cook, the Saints will need to knock their 2021 draft out of the park for the team to have a chance at retaining their crown over the NFC South.