Bountygate: New Orleans Saints Depth Will Be Tested Next Season

By Alejandro Aviles

The New Orleans Saints were slammed with a number of punishments yesterday by the NFL as a result of their bounty program scandal. Head coach Sean Payton will be banned for the entire upcoming season, general manager Mickey Loomis will be suspended, as well as assistant coach Joe Vitt, and to top all of that off the Saints lose their second round pick in this year’s draft as well as next year’s draft. Unfortunately for the Saints this is only the beginning of their problems because the NFL has yet to give out player suspensions and trust me, those will be coming.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has clearly made it known that these bounty programs will not be tolerated and the Saints players, current and possibly former, could be the next to feel the wrath of Goodell. There is no doubt that some of the Saints players will be getting suspensions, but which players will be hit the hardest?  For one, Jonathan Vilma should probably be expecting a fine and a lengthy suspension come next season. During the “bountygate” investigation it was found that Vilma put a $10,000 bounty on former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. I know that Vilma will definitely be suspended, but he surely will not be the only one.

With the Saints losing their second round draft pick this season it will definitely hurt their team’s depth. Next season will be tough and other guys will have to step up in place of players who might face suspensions with more forthcoming punishments by the NFL. The Saints have a dynamic offense but their defense is what always needed to be improved. Steve Spagnuolo will have his work cut out for him as he will try to make the Saints a relevant defensive team this season. That could prove to be a difficult task for him as he will most likely be missing some defensive players next season as a result of the “bountygate” punishments.

Furthermore, while the Saints face all the controversy and repercussions that come with it, other teams have bolstered their rosters, specifically their NFC South rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints are going to have to do something this season if they want to contend within their division and win some games. I would expect the Saints to almost exclusively draft defensive players with their remaining picks because they are going to need them more than ever this season.

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