What the Saints should do during the 2021 NFL offseason

NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NOLA Saints (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /

Step Six: Target Bargain-Basement Free Agents To Replenish Depth

There is no way the Saints are going to have the resources to spend big in free agency.

However, that does’t mean they cannot look to add depth and try to find value! There are a lot of players that will be looking for opportunities, and given the state of each team financially, may have to settle for very cheap contracts.

At wide receiver, New Orleans needs complimentary options after cutting Sanders. Former Jaguar Dede Westbrook, for instance, missed all of 2020 due to injury, but posted 1377 combined receiving yards in 2018 and 2019 despite not being a full-time starter. He adds some value after the catch, as does former Bill Isaiah McKenzie, though Westbrook is especially appealing given his abilities as a high-volume option.

On the offensive line, a reunion with James Hurst, or targeting a lower-tier offensive lineman such as Zach Banner would add depth.

Defensive lineman such as Mario Edwards Jr., Hasaan Ridgeway, DJ Jones, and Austin Johnson could help replace Malcom Brown and Sheldon Rankins on the interior. What about Aaron Lynch, Jabaal Sheard, or Ezekial Ansah when it comes to edge rush depth?

In terms of pass coverage, New Orleans plays a lot of man coverage, which could make Gareon Conley a very strong fit. He is only 25-years-old, and in a proper scheme, could even perhaps serve as a suitable replacement fo Janoris Jenkins. If not, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Artie Burns, and Akhello Witherspoon have youth on their side and could hit on the right side of variance given the volatility of defensive back play.

Regardless, the Saints are in a great position to add more roster depth than they would be able to in a normal offseason. By doing so, they can not only give opportunities to players hoping to find value, but they also can increase their chances of remaining competitive.

That would take care of some of their short-term roster contraction issues, but the long-term ramifications all lie on them taking advantage of the next step.