In a land of parity from the National Football League, the New Orleans Saints have hit a tough fork in the road.
With the amount of dead money from the turnover of players over the last five years, New Orleans is beginning to see how to start from the ground up rather than getting in a hole with all teams having to be under the salary cap by 3:00 p.m. CT Wednesday.
Even with the constant turnover, the Saints have finished in the top 10 for defense in each of the last five seasons. However, the offense – especially since the retirement of Drew Brees in 2021 – has been a combination of inconsistency and injury bug.
With the recent addition of quarterback Derek Carr, an extension for tight end Juwan Johnson, and a potential restructuring of wideout Michael Thomas’ contract, the offense appears to be heading in the right direction again. Running back Alvin Kamara and backup quarterback Jameis Winston have also voiced their willingness to restructure their contracts.
Unfortunately, the opposite is taking place for a historically strong defensive unit. Despite restructuring the contracts of linebacker Demario Davis and defensive back Marshon Lattimore, the Saints lost starting defensive linemen David Onyemata and Shy Tuttle on Monday to the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, respectively.
Within hours of the Onyemata and Tuttle news, the team took another big hit when it was reported that edge Marcus Davenport had signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings and linebacker Kaden Elliss had signed a three-year deal with Atlanta.
Instead of continuing the free agent problem that the Saints have had the last few years, the franchise may look into pursuing rookie contracts and building from the ground up in the near future.