Rarely does any NFL offseason play out the way people think it will, and the New Orleans Saints in particular had a handful of players who could have gone either way.
Through one door, they could re-sign with the franchise. Through the other, start fresh (and likely earn more money) elsewhere.
Compared to, say, how the Cleveland Browns handled Baker Mayfield in their trade negotiations for Deshaun Watson — we’re still relieved about that one — the Saints haven’t burned bridges with too many players in the past.
Given NOLA’s perennial cap space issues, it’s hard to fault players for wanting to get paid what they’re worth rather than stay loyal to a franchise that simply can’t afford them. The last two years have been especially difficult for the Saints, who have had to let go of many a talented free agent due to financial restrictions. There’s no question someone like Emmanuel Sanders would have hugely benefited the team last year, but alas, not all players can be Saints for their entire careers.
In the modern NFL era where money talks loudest, these three Saints recently abandoned their black and gold roots for newly colored ones. For some, they found immediate success on Super Bowl contending teams; for others, their fit and performance on their new team have yet to be evaluated.
We wouldn’t exactly say there’s boiling hot “bad blood” between the organization and these former Saints players, but it comes down to proving a point, which is: “My team [the Saints] is better than your team.”
Here are three players the Saints want to one-up when they meet this season.