Surveying the Saints needs at this point in free agency
The New Orleans Saints have made a small splash in the early days of NFL free agency, securing Drew Brees, proven veteran Malcolm Jenkins and emerging defensive tackle David Onyemata among other moves this week.
The team approached the offseason with primary needs at receiver and linebacker along with depth questions at cornerback and along the offensive line.
I’m throwing out some names out that I believe are on the Saints’ radar.
Robby Anderson, who we’ve spoken about numerous times, caught 52 passes for 779 yards and five scores in 15 starts with the Jets last season. He’s a big target at 6-foot-3 with deep speed, qualities that the Saints are seeking to team up with Michael Thomas. Anderson has had off the field concerns. He was seeking over $16 million per season at one point but things have been quiet. Anderson reportedly has lowered his asking price to $10 million or less on average.
Breshad Perriman is an emerging talent with 4.35 speed who was a first round pick of the Ravens in 2012. His best season was ’19 when opportunity knocked in Tampa. Was it an apparition or a vision of things to come? He could be an affordable option for a team.
Another wideout who is a proven commodity is Emmanuel Sanders, but he is now 33 years old. The 49ers surrendered third and fourth round picks for him last season. The former Steelers and Broncos starter has been seeking a $10 million per season deal.
Saints wideout Ted Ginn, Jr. will 35 years old this season. He just completed a three-year, $11 million deal so he will likely only end up being cheaper this time around. Sanders, who many like, did not put up numbers much better than Ginn last season. Food for thought.
There are no linebackers who fit a starting role remaining on the free agency market. More on that position later because it’s a soft spot on the New Orleans roster.
There are are some offensive line possibilities to consider, but first let me say this. I have maintained all along on numerous media outlets that I would not be surprised to see Andrus Peat return in a Saints’ uniform in 2020.
UPDATE: Saints re-signed Peat to a five-year contract.
Peat, the team’s 2015 1st round pick, made $9.6 million last season with his eyes toward a big payday on the open market. It hasn’t happened. He is a solid pass protector and run blocker but has missed nine games the past two seasons due to injuries, which certainly hurt his stock.
Just 26 years old, Peat means more to the Saints than he may to others. He has shown the ability to slide out to tackle in a pinch. He is a proven asset in the New Orleans offense. If he did not return, Nick Easton may have gotten first crack at his left guard spot. Peat is better than Easton, who currently makes $5 million per season.
As for potential replacements, Cordy Glenn is a 30-year old who had 19 starts the past two seasons at guard with a 68.4 overall grade from Pro Football Foucs. In 291 snaps last season, he allowed four sacks with no penalties. He may be seeking a short term deal.
Micheal Schofield, 29 years old, made 29 starts with the Broncos and just finished a two-year, $5 million deal with the Chargers. In 1057 snaps, he committed one penalty while allowing just one sack and two hurries.
There are a couple cornerbacks of note still floating around.
Prince Amukamara is a savvy nine-year veteran. In 2019, PFF graded him 68.2 overall, with a high of 70.5 in coverage. The 30-yard old could be added to a roster with a $5-$8 million per season contract ideally as a third corner.
Logan Ryan, age 29, has seven seasons under his belt. A third round pick of the Patriots in 2013, he put up impressive numbers last season (113 tackles, 18 passes defended, four interceptions, four forced fumbles). Ryan just completed a three-year, $30 million deal. He may have to lower his asking price despite 17 career picks in 109 games.
Nickell Roby-Coleman…I know what you’re thinking. Don’t go there. But the 28-year old is one of the steadiest corners in the league. He allowed 64 percent of the passes completed in his territory. The culprit in the NOLA no-call is likely available in the $4.5 million per year range. That’s if the Saints and their fans can let by-gone’s be by-gone’s.
We haven’t mentioned the potential addition of a veteran quarterback yet but that deserves its own column.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…