During NFL free agency, most teams are looking to make a big splash and land the big name free agent. However, that has not really been the case with the New Orleans Saints thus far. Sure, the Saints signed cornerback Keenan Lewis, but he was certainly not a big name free agent.
Yesterday, the Saints signed tight end Benjamin Watson, a player that casual fans may have never heard of, but he is a do-it-all tight end that the Saints needed. The Saints have also met with cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the biggest prizes to be won this off-season, but there is no word yet on whether he will sign with the Saints or another team.
The Saints have been relatively quiet during this free agency period, but it is actually a very smart approach. Some other moves that the Saints made were to solidify their special teams. The Saints have already re-signed long snapper Justin Drescher, wide receiver Courtney Roby, and linebacker Ramon Humber. For a team trying to get under the salary cap, it is moves like these that matter. Furthermore, the Saints have brought back key players from their special teams and have added overall depth to the team because all three players listed can do more than one thing on the football field.
The Saints aren’t making the “sexy” moves, but they are making the moves that need to be made. Games are not won by individuals but as a team, so just because a team signs a star player does not necessarily mean that the team will fare any better.
The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles are a prime example of what can happen when a team goes after all of the big names. That season the Eagles arguably had the best roster in the NFL, but it did not translate into many wins. Furthermore, these star players were great on their own, but as a team they lacked cohesiveness.
As a Saints’ fan, one should really be in awe at the job general manager Mickey Loomis has done this off-season and his entire tenure with the Saints for that matter. Loomis has brought in the right players and is piecing them together like a jigsaw puzzle. So far the pieces seem to be fitting together nicely and the picture is starting to come together.
Not only has Loomis been making great roster moves, but he has restructured many contracts and currently has the Saints about $5.5 million under the salary cap. The Saints will probably make more moves this off-season and if they can land Asomugha it certainly would not hurt their secondary.
The next step for the Saints will come in April at the 2013 NFL draft and I am sure Loomis and his team have already been doing their homework. The Saints only have five picks in this year’s draft so they will have to use them wisely, but something tells me that the team already has a plan in place. The Saints will continue to make the moves that matter and with that kind of attitude they will only improve in 2013.