Saints grab reliable, known quantities in free agency
You have to like what the Saints have done in free agency.
New Orleans added solid veterans, including players with Super Bowl experience, and retained some key players of their own.
The only mild surprise was the return of guard Andrus Peat, who didn’t have a particularly good 2019 and played only 10 games because of a broken forearm.
However, we don’t know how healthy Peat was at the end of last season. He returned in time to start the regular season finale at Carolina and then struggled in the loss to Minnesota in the NFC wildcard game.
Peat said he wanted to finish his career in New Orleans. If, and when, he finishes his new five year contract extension, he will be only 31 years old with 10 years of NFL experience.
With a reported $33 million guaranteed, Peat’s new deal seemed a little steep. However, head coach Sean Payton has always been a Peat believer since drafting him in the first round in 2015.
The Saints also retained defensive tackle David Onyemata on a three-year deal. Solid and dependable, the native of Nigeria still has some upside. He’s missed only one game in his four year NFL career. That wasn’t for injury, but suspension.
Bringing back safety Malcolm Jenkins was a no-brainer. He is the perfect signing for the Saints.
At 32, Jenkins still has quality years remaining, comes at a decent price and provides not only ability but the intangibles the Saints covet.
The Saints free agent haul got even better when wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders agrreed to a two-year contract. The 49ers acquired Sanders in a mid-season trade from Denver for third and fourth round selections.
Sanders gives the Saints a veteran presence as well as a deep ball threat they so coveted.
The acquisitions of Jenkins and Sanders plus the re-signing of Peat all fill need positions.
Ironically, after Sanders torched the Saints for nine receptions, 157 yards, and a touchdown in a 48-46 San Francisco win last season, Payton was quite critical of the performances of his safeties.
In the offseason, the Saints are again acting like a Super Bowl contender by re-signing those who they know, including linebacker Kiko Alonso and also minimizing risk.
But only till next month.
By filling needs, the Saints can be aggressive in the draft in search of the difference maker they need, regardless of position.
New Orleans is a ‘trade up’ organization, and most of those deals to move higher in drafts have served the club well.
Running back Alvin Kamara, defensive end Marcus Davenport and center Erik McCoy were all drafted after the Saints traded up.
It would surprise no one if the Saints did it again.
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WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…