Saints should let Marcus Davenport walk this offseason

New Orleans Saints, Marcus Davenport
New Orleans Saints, Marcus Davenport / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The New Orleans Saints will have to make tough decisions this offseason over who to cut and who to keep, and Marcus Davenport hasn't proven he's a key roster piece.

NOLA will have as many as 17 unrestricted free agents this upcoming offseason as the franchise weighs the choice of starting over and rebuilding from the ground up.

Some pending free agents, like Kaden Elliss, have played their way into the first team and should retain a spot on the roster next season. Others, like Marcus Davenport, haven't lived up to their potential and require a fresh change of scenery.

One could argue that the Saints simply had too lofty expectations for Davenport. Ever since Sean Payton traded up to take him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Davenport has struggled on the field, trudging his way to a spotty, injury-plagued five-year career in New Orleans.

He hasn't put together a single full season in the league and has started just 32 games since 2018. For a former first-round pick, that's just unacceptable.

Saints DE Marcus Davenport has squandered all his chances in NOLA

NOLA initially brought him on to be Cam Jordan's potential heir, and after several up and down seasons, Davenport started ramping up his production in 2021 with a career-high nine sacks.

The production the Saints got from Davenport in 2021 made the front office look like geniuses for picking up his fifth-year option the offseason before.

In 2022, however, that glimmer of hope quickly disappeared. Crippled by injury after injury, Davenport regressed yet again, and through 12 weeks of the season he has recorded only 20 tackles, five quarterback hits, and 0.5 sacks.

It's time to cut the losses. It made sense in the last few years to keep Davenport around as players often need time to adjust and reach their full potential, but Davenport has run out of chances to prove himself and it would be in each party's best interest to part ways.

Better for the Saints to admit they were wrong about him now than extend him on a lucrative contract and watch their money go down the drain when Davenport inevitably gets injured again. It's a vicious cycle that needs to be broken, and besides, the Saints should save their cap space for more integral pieces if they do in fact opt for a full rebuild in 2023.

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The search for Cam Jordan's successor continues, and the injury-prone Davenport unfortunately has dropped out of the race.