How much heat will Mickey Loomis take if the Saints don't take a step forward this year?
Team’s record during his tenure: 129–111, five playoff berths, one Super Bowl title
Key move(s) this off-season: Traded Brandin Cooks to New England for a first-round pick, signed Adrian Peterson
Outlook: The past few seasons have been ugly for the Saints, and for Loomis. The results: three consecutive 7–9 finishes and a salary cap consistently saddled with dead money due to poor moves—this year’s current dead money number of approximately $13.4 million (via OvertheCap) is a significant reduction from 2015 and ’16. Loomis has taken on high-priced busts, like safety Jairus Byrd, while his team has run into the same problems over and over again—namely, its defense.
The decision to unload Cooks will be viewed through a microscope all season, if for no other reason than Loomis sent his former WR to the defending champs. He used the additional first-round pick on OT Ryan Ramczyk, after earlier selecting CB Marshon Lattimore. The Saints’ recent draft history actually looks promising (WR Michael Thomas, DT Sheldon Rankins, OL Andrus Peat and so on), but the increased scrutiny of late from the fan base made the 2017 draft an important one.
Loomis, though, is not likely to go anywhere unless everything implodes. Owner Tom Benson holds him in such high regard that he made Loomis executive VP of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, which Benson also owns. Head coach Sean Payton is far more likely to be the first one out the door if this season goes awry.