Best available free agents for the New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints have done a masterful job at keeping many of their own talent during free agency. The team re-signed QB Drew Brees, OG Andrus Peat, DT David Onyemata, DE Noah Spence, and S D.J. Swearinger. They added WR Emmanuel Sanders to fill a glaring weakness at the position aside from All-Pro WR Michael Thomas and signed S Malcolm Jenkins to offset the pending free agent loss of S Vonn Bell.
New Orleans will now shift their focus to next month’s NFL draft, a place where they have built the bulk of their talent over the last four years. The Saints have also had some success adding free agents later in the signing period in the last few seasons, with TE Jared Cook being the most recent example. It seems unlikely that the Saints will have much activity prior to the draft, but several talented free agents remain available on the market. Here are a few of those available players at the Saints biggest remaining positions of need.
- Bashaud Breeland (28 - Chiefs)
- Aaron Colvin (28 - Redskins)
- Ronald Darby (26 - Eagles)
- Darqueze Dennard (28 - Bengals)
- Logan Ryan (29 - Titans)
(age and previous team in parentheses)
Overview: The Saints have one of the league’s best starting duo of corners in Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins, but are frighteningly thin beyond them. New Orleans seems likely to add a defensive back in the draft, but a player like Breeland has been effective in slot coverage throughout his career. Dennard, the 24th overall selection in the 2014 draft, is most effective from the slot position. The 28-Yr old Dennard had agreed to a three-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the two sides could not agree on the final terms of the deal.
- Nigel Bradham l30 - Eagles)
- Kamalei Correa (26 - Titans)
- Aaron Lynch (27 - Bears)
- Alec Ogletree (28 - Giants)
Overview: The Saints have a solid trio of starting linebackers with All-Pro Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, and Kiko Alonso, along with decent depth in versatile veteran Craig Robertson and promising second-year pro Kaden Elliss. Anzalone and Alonso have a concerning history of injuries though and Elliss is unproven. Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray or Patrick Queen of LSU could be available when the Saints draft at 24th overall, or the team could look to add another proven veteran. Correa and Lynch would give the team added ass rush options on the edge. Bradham has been a versatile star on the inside, while Ogletree is a tough run stopper.
- Charles Clay (31 - Cardinals)
- Geoff Swaim (28 - Jaguars)
- Clive Walford (28 - Dolphins)
Overview: The Saints have one of the better receiving tight ends in Jared Cook and an outstanding blocker in Josh Hill. Versatile weapon Taysom Hill has played well in an H-back role, but the team could use another receiving threat at the position. The draft looks thin at a tight end, but a proven veteran like Clay would add depth. Swaim was a big mid-range target for the Dallas Cowboys, but injuries limited him with the Jaguars last year. Walford has bounced around with three teams in his five-year career, but is an athletic downfield threat who was a teammate of Cook’s in Oakland.
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