The New Orleans Saints found a gem of a linebacker in Kaden Elliss, though Elliss has possibly outpriced his stay in NOLA.
Elliss will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, when he'll likely draw interest from many NFL teams. After Pete Werner's unfortunate injury, Elliss stepped up and played above and beyond expectations, currently ranking as the team's most promising young defender.
The former seventh-rounder has 38 tackles in the past four games and has played over 90 percent of offensive snaps in the past three.
Elliss has a career-high 4.5 sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble this season and has easily done enough to earn a roster spot in NOLA next year.
With Werner returning, though, Elliss would have a rotational role at best. Whether Elliss remains with the Saints or finds a new home in 2023, he's been playing his way to a lucrative deal and is peaking at the best possible time.
Saints' Kaden Elliss will become a highly coveted free agent linebacker in 2023
It's shaping up to be a competitive free agent linebacker group this offseason with big names like Lavonte David and Roquan Smith hitting the open market.
Elliss ranks at the bottom of the list as one of the lowest paid players at the position right now, yet his performances of late have no doubt jacked up his value.
NOLA has stuck it out with Elliss for the past four years, keeping him around on special teams and as a developmental backup piece in the linebacker unit. There's a chance the Saints will reward Elliss' breakout play with a sizeable contract, but it depends on what the team aims to do next offseason.
If they want to do a full rebuild, retaining a young stud like Elliss might be the logical move, but if they want to stay competitive in 2023, they may be pickier about where they spend their money.
For the time being, the Saints can continue to benefit from Elliss' production in the second half of the season.