This time of the NFL offseason is one of intense speculation as note-worthy players are being cut, leaving fans of all teams making their case to sign veteran free agents. In the case of James Harrison, the talks have swirled and it appears the New Orleans Saints are one of the teams that could possibly make a run at the 2008 defensive player of the year.
Harrison is a Super Bowl Champion who is almost 35 years old and looking to make a mark on a team that runs the 3-4 defense he’s been a part of his entire career. The Saints need linebackers that fit defensive coordinator Rob Ryan‘s new scheme, which begs the question, whether or not the organization feels the need to bring someone who has 15 sacks and four forced fumbles in the last two seasons.
A red flag for the Saints would be his inability to stay on the field as he missed eight games in the last two years while with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Issues also surround the team’s finances because they are over the $123 million salary cap and Harrison isn’t going to take a pay cut to play for a 7-9 team.
Their are pluses and minuses to this deal, but I see no reason why the Saints would put themselves behind the eight-ball for a guy that’s going to have to work just to stay healthy. This defense is going to be on the field a lot as New Orleans like to score quick and often, so I think general manager Mickey Loomis looks elsewhere when looking for players to help give his defense a face-lift.
Harrison will find work somewhere, but it won’t be with the cap-crunched Saints.