Which player on the Saints is outplaying their contract?

Some of the most consistent contributors for the New Orleans Saints are playing on cheap deals. Which player could be considered the most underpaid?
Jacksonville Jaguars v New Orleans Saints
Jacksonville Jaguars v New Orleans Saints / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Since the New Orleans Saints are always facing cap space challenges, they often rely on players signed to small contracts or rookie deals to outperform what they’re being paid. Eventually, those players will have to be a paid a deal worth their play, but until that happens, the players will be considered underpaid.

That leads to the question: who is the most under-paid player in New Orleans? The Saints have several veterans raking in a ton of money, so it may be easy to argue that someone is overpaid, but who’s underpaid? Brad Gagnon, in a recent piece for Bleacher Report, answered that question.

Gagnon named the most underpaid player on each team in the league . For New Orleans, linebacker Pete Werner was selected.

Pete Werner named Saints’ most underpaid player

Werner was drafted in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. With only three seasons in the league, Pete Werner is still on his rookie contract. As Gagnon highlights, Werner’s deal averages just $1.4 million a year. Despite that number, Werner has been a full-time starter for the majority of his career in New Orleans.

In three seasons with the Saints, Werner has played in 43 games, starting 35. In those games, the linebacker out of Ohio State has recorded 235 tackles, 11 for a loss, half a sack, and one interception. Considering his role on the team, and how he was delivered early in his career, it’s certainly fair to say he’s one of the most underpaid players on the Saints.

Werner is coming off a season where he took a step back from his impressive sophomore season in the league, so he needs to get things back on track. He’ll have a ton of competition pushing him, with New Orleans bringing in Willie Gay and Khaleke Hudson this offseason. If Werner doesn’t respond, it may no longer look as if he’s underpaid.