Just three years removed from winning Super Bowl XLIV the New Orleans Saints fans should prepare for an absolute overhaul of the defensive side of the ball this offseason. As soon as March 12th hits don’t be surprised if the Saints are on the phone with every NFL team in the league looking to make a deal.
The Saints had a historically awful season in allowing 4,497 yards of offense, which averages out to a league-worst 312.3 opponent yards per game. With aging veterans all over the place it’s time for the team to go back to the chalkboard and give the following players the boot.
Will Smith has been with the Saints for nine seasons and had two seasons of double-digit sacks, however he must be released sometime before March 27th when he is due a $1M roster bonus. If released Smith will clear the team of $7.758M in cap space which will aid the Saints efforts to get underneath the salary cap this season. With newly acquired Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan coming in and wanting to run a 3-4 defense the team will have little use for Smith who is 32-years-old and has played defensive end for the last nine years.
Jonathan Vilma would be the other Saint that I would give the ax to considering he made a minimal impact last year playing in less than 40 percent of the Saints defensive snaps. Roger Goodell may have treated Vilma poorly throughout Bounty Gate, however releasing Vilma will save the team $6M and they wouldn’t have to pay him the $1.1M roster bonus he is due on March 13th.
If the Saints hope to return to grace in the NFC South they must focus on the defensive side of the ball and it starts with cutting both Smith and Vilma.