How will the addition of Willie Gay benefit the Saints in 2024?

The New Orleans Saints made their signing of former Chiefs linebacker, Willie Gay, official. Here is how the addition of Gay will benefit the Saints next year.
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints made their first signing of free agency with the addition of linebacker Willie Gay. Gay is a 2020 second-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs and is preparing for his fifth season in the NFL. This is a big addition at a position where the Saints needed some more depth.

This move dramatically helps New Orleans’ depth at linebacker. Pete Werner and Demario Davis are amazing players who should continue playing similarly to what they have been. Behind them stands D’Marco Jackson, who has been used primarily as a special teams player, and Nephi Sewell who is coming off of a torn ACL. The addition of Willie Gay should improve this group significantly.

Gay has played in 57 career games, so he provides experience while still only being 26 years old. He is a very productive player that uses his athleticism, versatility, and speed to help him succeed. Gay ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the combine, if that gives you any idea of his speed.

He is good in coverage, as he has four career interceptions and 19 passes defended. However, Gay is a do-it-all kind of linebacker. In addition to his ability to cover, he can go downhill in the run game or even rush the quarterback at times. In his career, he has 233 tackles and 17 tackles for loss. He is an excellent player who should produce heavily next year.

Willie Gay will help Saints defense improve

Willie Gay is also a locker-room presence who is always upbeat. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has referred to him as an energy driver. He was nicknamed The Juiceman by various teammates in Kansas City. He’ll now bring great energy and familiarity, knowing various people on the Saints roster. Tyrann Mathieu and Khalen Saunders were both teammates of Gay, who were thrilled when he signed with the Saints.

In addition, defensive line coach Todd Grantham was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, where Willie Gay went to college, for a year while Gay was there. This should help him adapt to the team and be a great presence for the Saints.

The signing of Willie Gay was an amazing one for the Saints, especially with the deal they got him on. He helps bring not only more depth, but also speed to the linebacker room. This signing should help the Saints defense tremendously going into 2024.