How the Saints’ Offseason Affects the Immediate Future
The New Orleans Saints have met unfortunate ends to their seasons’ the past couple of years. They need to break through the wall soon, as Brees is 41 and most Saints’ fans are anticipating that this is his last season. This offseason has had two themes for the Saints, familiarity and quality over quantity. They have set up for this season to be yet another successful one.
Familiar Faces in New Orleans
The biggest name coming back to New Orleans is Malcolm Jenkins. Sean Payton has made it clear that letting Jenkins go in 2014 was one of the biggest regrets of his career. Vonn Bell was off of a contract, so that opened up the option of a Jenkins return. This also adds a great veteran presence for a young, but talented Saints secondary.
Zach Line retired, which left a hole in the fullback position. The Saints are one of the teams left in the NFL that still get a good amount from the position, so they wanted someone who had experience. Michael Burton, who was with the Saints in the preseason last year was the move for them. He is also a great special teamer, as he has shown through his NFL career so far.
A few of the depth players making their returns are Andrus Peat. Cameron Tom, Dwayne Washington, Johnson Bademosi, PJ Williams, Justin Hardee. Dwayne Washington always excels in the RB3 role. Hardee is an exceptional special teamer. Cam Tom is a versatile and quality backup. Andrus Peat is the one that most Saints fans are most confused about, but it makes sense in the lens of wanting a guard that can get the job done and knows the system. There is a serious lack of interior offensive line talent in the league, so you might as well get one that is already familiar with Drew Brees and the offense. As I’m writing this, they also re-signed Patrick Omameh for more offensive line depth, another prototypical Saints lineman that can play multiple positions on the line.
Replacing the more popular offensive lineman?
As mentioned before, Andrus Peat is not a fan-favorite by any means. He’s the only player that I’ve seen get a petition made by HIS OWN TEAMS FANS to get removed from the pro bowl. However, the Saints were looking to get rid of the guard on the opposite side. The Saints were very openly upset with Larry Warford, which surprised a lot of people. Partly because the Saints are rarely open about that kind of stuff, which means they had to be VERY UPSET. The last time I remember it being that obvious, was way back when Mark Ingram had fumbling issues.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is an extreme lack of interior o-line talent. So, they looked to their own team. McCoy is a great lineman, and has experience being a guard. They’re confident in his ability, but that would leave a hole at center. They look to their draft and bring in who many people believed was the best center in the draft. Cesar Ruiz comes in and will be a great fit for the Saints on and off the field.
Finally, some more people for Brees to throw to!
As big of an addition Malcolm Jenkins is, bringing in Emmanuel Sanders is MASSIVE. Gone are the days of Ted Ginn Jr being the WR2. Saints fans will remember Sanders for his 2019 game in the dome where he had 157 yard and a TD to go with a 35-yard passing touchdown. He is the best WR2 that the Saints have had in what seems like a lifetime. Michael Thomas can have the load lightened, not that it seems like he needs it.
They also drafted Dayton TE Adam Trautman, trading the rest of their draft picks for the year to take him in the late 3rd. I am in love with this pick, as I am a huge fan of Trautman. My interest in him started at the Senior Bowl, where he dominated most of his competition there. He runs and catches like a WR with the size of TE. Imagine a better Dan Arnold. I have this impacting the team immediately, because I see him winning that TE2 role over Josh Hill quickly and finding his way onto the field immediately.
A Baun-ified Steal
I was weary of the rumors that the Saints were looking to take Baun in the first round. I just viewed him as a question mark of an EDGE, due to his size. He was certainly productive at Wisconsin, getting 30 TFLs and 15 sacks in 3 years. I am ecstatic though to see that the Saints were able to get him where they got him and the role that they will be using him in. He’s going to be the strong-side linebacker immediately, so to get that value in the 3rd is nothing to complain about. He also has a dog named Chance the Yapper; how can you not love that.
What’s after Brees?
Many Saints fans, I included, love Taysom Hill. There is, however, an unavoidable question mark around his ability as a QB. Almost non-existent production at the NFL-level and poor performances in college certainly doesn’t strike confidence into me. Bringing in Jameis Winston on a minimum deal is such an AMAZING move. There is nothing to lose here. The best-case scenario is that Winston comes here and learns under a great QB system and behind one of the best quarterbacks of all time, setting himself up to improve and be the QB for the future. Also, should Brees get hurt again this year, you have to think Winston comes in, instead of Taysom.
Enjoy This Season, Saints’ Fans
Life is good as a Saints fan. We really need to appreciate the front offices’ efforts to set up a hopeful title run. Soak in this season, as it is probably the last time, we will see #9 line up under center. I’m tearing up already, thinking about the moment. Hopefully there won’t be another tragic ending to this season.