When you look at all the talent the New Orleans Saints have acquired this offseason you can’t help but be excited about the possibilities of what this season could bring.
The excitement that Saints fans are feeling is because New Orleans lost the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes. The Saints were one of four teams that were in the running to land NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson, and were willing to risk it all for the star quarterback but were beaten out by the Cleveland Browns.
I’m sure at one time the Saints may have felt upset about not acquiring Watson, but due to the more recent events involving Watson the Saints and their fans would agree that losing out on Deshaun Watson was one of the best things that ever happened to this franchise.
Sometimes in life things we plan for do not work out how we originally planned, but the result may be even better. The Saints came out way better than they would have if they had gotten Watson.
At the beginning of the 2022 NFL offseason, the New Orleans Saints were more than $70 million over the NFL salary cap. It seems as if the team would lose some of their star players as cap casualties.
Targeting Deshaun Watson actually created cap room for the Saints
There were losses along the way. All-Pro left tackle Terron Armstead, and safety Marcus Williams, but the Saints were able to add another All-Pro safety Tyrann Matthieu as well as Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry.
They also were able to trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for two first-round picks that turned into receiver Chris Olave and tackle Trevor Penning. These moves are not happening without the idea of adding Deshaun Watson to the payroll. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and Vice President of Player Administration (and cap guru) Khai Harley do an outstanding job moving the salary cap around.
When acquiring Watson was on the table, the Saints were able to go from 74 million dollars over the cap to 30 million dollars under the cap. I don’t know if that kind of creativity and strategic planning would have taken place if a future franchise quarterback wasn’t available. The Saints turn chicken you-know-what into gourmet chicken salad.
There is an old saying, “It’s best to be more lucky than good”. The Saints had a little bit of luck on their side. They were able to not land Watson but were still able to sign Jameis Winston, and they were lucky to do so. Jameis Winston had offers from other NFL teams so the Saints could have ended up with nothing. With Ian Book as your only quarterback on the roster, It could have been a rebuilding year. The Saints signed Winston to a 2-year deal, and are still contenders in the NFC.
Nobody would disagree Deshaun Watson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL, but the man has more baggage than your local airport. Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by 24 women. According to the New York Times, Watson met at least 66 women for massages over 17 months.
The Saints were willing to make a trade and give up draft capital to the Houston Texans to acquire Watson, who had a no-trade clause in his contract and could choose his next team. Instead, Watson chooses the Cleveland Browns, whose organization is under fire for making Watson the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history with all the allegations against him.
The type of scrutiny and ridicule coming the Browns’ way could be happening to the Saints right now. The Saints as an organization have enough to deal with. Dennis Allen replacing Sean Payton as head coach Alvin Kamara’s upcoming trial in August for assault, and the health of Jameis Winston. Adding Watson would have turned the Saints locker room into a circus.
Teams with the least distractions are more than likely to have success. The Saints have a chance to be one of the best teams in not only the NFC but the entire NFL. And Deshaun Watson is not on the team. Losing out on him created an offseason Saints fans have never seen.