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Analyzing the Saints’ elite defense heading into free agency

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

Not only will the Saints have to deal with inevitable defensive regression, but they likely will have to do so without multiple key players.

How much do defenses matter in the modern NFL? The Saints should know first-hand how important they are.

That’s the million-dollar question though. Based on my work done at mvpsportstalk.com, a point scored has been about 1.5 times as valuable as a point allowed, as elite teams generally are led by high-end offenses. Many will point to the Tampa Bay Bucs as the exception, but they actually regressed in several defensive metrics; it was the addition of Tom Brady that put them over the top.

The thing about defenses is that they have been proven to be rather volatile. Thus, relying on them on a year-to-year, or even a week-to-week basis, is quite risky. For that reason, if the Saints are going to get back to the promise land, they will have to build up their offense.

With that in mind, New Orleans will have to find ways to keep their defense at a strong level against the pass with very little investments made.

They are well over the salary cap and need to exhaust resources on their offense, so most of their reinforcements theoretically should come at the lowest-level of the free-agent market and in the middle rounds of the draft.

Making matters even more complicated, they’ll have the replace multiple key players.

For years, the Saints were a liability defensively.

They’ve been much better in that area in recent years, so retain defensive competence will be critical. How do they do just that? Let us break down every defensive position group, before putting together a hypothetical defensive lineup for 2021!