The New Orleans Saints front office is teaching a masterclass to the other 31 NFL teams on how to handle the NFL cap with shrewd moves, financial wizardry, and personnel strategy.
The 2021 NFL new year officially begins today at 3 PM CT. Contracts will be signed and executed by the 32 teams and free-agents. Announcements, tweets, and videos surrounding the free agency "feeding frenzy" will continue to consume NFL fans tonight.
How New Orleans got to the point how dwindling $111M off the cap should become a "Masterclass in NFL Front-Office Strategy." Executive Vice President and General Manager Mickey Loomis and VP of Football Administration Khai Harley are the Front-Office Masters NFL executives envy.
They had the inevitable task of navigating heavy contracts for key players, reducing their overhead, and restructuring deals to become compliant with the NFL's shrinking cap number of $182.5M. The NFL management council records over New Orleans $12.72M over the cap, per SI's Albert Breer. Eventually, the Saints front office must address three areas, personnel depth, the new rookie class, and of course, Lattimore and Ramczyk's contract situations.
Mickey Loomis confirmed New Orleans will not be significant players in tonight's free agent chaos but could add a few essential position needs. Losing cornerback Janoris Jenkins after his release to the Tennessee Titans leaves a massive hole opposite Lattimore.
Rumors of three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman joining New Orleans' defensive backfield are running rampant. His connection with new defensive backs coach Kris Richard could make the deal work for Sherman and the Saints. Sherman is not the same player he once was while in Seattle, but his veteran presence and leadership skills are valuable.
Sherman posted via Twitter his body of work from a PFF analysis. Since 2011, his top grades are 95.0, 54.5 passer rating allowed, 49.8% completion percentage allowed, and 89.5 grade for a cornerback the past two years over 30+ years old. The highly talented and confident defender turns 33 on March 30. If the price is right, the Saints could make it work for a couple of seasons with Sherman.
New Orleans has 3 compensatory picks in the 2021 NFL Draft and possibly gained another with the trade of defensive tackle Malcom Brown to the Jacksonville Jaguars. So, taking advantage of the selections and adding new talent in April will be the challenge for VP & Assistant General Manager Jeff Ireland.
Nevertheless, Loomis, Harley, and Payton will continue their assault against the conventional norms of "NFL Front Officing." Yes, I made up the term, but it fits New Orleans well. Drew Brees' retirement and revised contract help to create close to $24M in cap space. More is needed. How will they do it?
We shall see.
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