Jump to content

Saints future moving forward: Who’s in and who’s out?


Recommended Posts

There’s a little known fact in the NFL regarding player contracts and cap issues… teams rarely is EVER lose a player they truly don’t want to.

 

Looking forward for a second, beyond the Saints obvious cap problems and limitations this offseason I’m reminded about that little NFL fact. Another thing I’m reminded about is the saying Sean Payton loves to tell his players when they arrive on Airline Drive, “It truly does not matter how you got here, it’s what you do now that you’re here”. He typically follows that line up with stories of former players such as Pierre Thomas, Jahri Evans, Marcus Colston and Zach Strief. This motto has been a driving factor for the Saints and their ability to land impressive undrafted rookie classes and mid-tier free agents. This organization has built a solid reputation on allowing the players play on the field to determine their future with the franchise and not their draft or contract status.

 

Taking that line of thinking into account, below are a few players the Saints will be forced to make decisions on this offseason and my prediction on what will eventually be the outcome…

 

 

1. Marcus Williams, Free Safety

While most outside of New Orleans remember Williams for his botched tackle in the Minneapolis Miracle, Saints fans understand that Williams has developed into a rangy center fielder with ball skills and an improving tackling percentage. Williams is the ideal fit as the last line of defense in the Saints defensive scheme and has consistently been a high graded player at his position in the NFL.

Prediction: Saints resign Williams to a 4 or 5 year extension

The Saints and Sean Payton know they made a mistake allowing Malcolm Jenkins to leave via free agency a few year ago and I doubt they make that same mistake again. Williams benefited from Jenkins returned the most this season and has learned a lot from the veteran. Youngster Charlie Gardner Johnson will eventually unseat Jenkins in time but the leadership role will eventually be passed from Jenkins to Williams.

 

 

2. Trey Hendrickson, Defensive End

A former 3rd round pick out of Florida Atlantic in the Saints famed 2017 draft class, Hendrickson has shown steady improvement since being a small school draft gem for the Saints. As a rookie Hendrickson made the most of the little playing time he received tailing 2 sacks, that was followed by a injury plagued 2018 season. In 2019 Hendrickson was poised to have more playing time until the Saints traded two 1st round draft picks to move up and select Marcus Davenport who eventually took majority of the snaps that season but Hendrickson still played well with limited snaps and totaled 4.5 sacks in 2019. In 2020 it was Davenport who suffered the injury bug finally giving Hendrickson his shot for the majority of the defensive snaps and he took full advantage tallying 13.5 sacks (tied for 2nd in the NFL) along with one of the most impressive pressure rate percentages at the position.

 

The fact is… Davenport is the more talented athlete but Hendrickson is simply the better football player and eventually I think the Saints will have to decide between the two.

Prediction: Saints resign Hendrickson to a 4 year extension  

Simply put… Hendrickson has developed into the perfect complement to Cameron Jordan. It would terrible to see the Saints lose a pure edge rusher like Hendrickson which they have lacked in recent years, the year after he finally breaks out. Locking up Hendrickson now could cost Davenport down the line but it would also reaffirm Payton’s stance on it not being how you got here but what you do once you’re here motto.

 

 

3. Sheldon Rankins, Defensive Tackle

Rankins is a fine football player and I know Cam Jordan praises his football intellect but outside of the 2018 season he’s been pretty much average and injury prone over the course of his career after being the 12th overall selection. This year it was rock bottom for Rankins as his overall play was below average and when you combine all that with the emergence of David Onyemata who the Saints already have committed to long-term, I think the writings on the wall here.

Prediction: 2021 will be Rankins last year with the Saints

With Rankins injury history and Onyemata’s emergence, even if Rankins has a bounce back season in 2021 I doubt he’s in the team’s future plans beyond next season. There is no point moving on now as the Saints would save nothing cap wise via release or trade compared to the depth he provides but they won’t get into a bidding war to retain his services when the time comes.

 

 

4. Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback

Lattimore more so than any other player on this Saints squad (with the exception of Taysom Hill) brings more questions than answers. Athletically, Lattimore is an extremely gifted player I don’t think anyone on here would deny that. He’s also a very good football player… at times and that’s the issue. Lattimore’s inconsistency has driven Saints fans mad over the years. One minute he’s shutting down one of the best young receivers in the game (Mike Evans) and the next a journeyman is taking him to school.

 

I get it… IT’S FRUSTRATING!!!

 

Still, this is the former defensive rookie of the year and corners with his skill set are extremely hard to come by. Added to that, the Saints are about to have to gut the cornerback room for cap reasons. Lattimore has proven to be able to play at a high level in this league even though the Saints must take on some of the criticism for Lattimore’s inconsistency. Lattimore is consistently asked by the Saints to shadow the opposing team’s top receiver, why… because he’s the best they have. Maybe asking Lattimore to do slightly less can in turn help the young corner settle in more into games and allow his confidence to rise because when Lattimore’s confidence is high he looks like the best player on the football field. Yes maybe Lattimore isn’t as good as we all hoped he be but that does not change the fact that he’s still highly talented and still the best we got. In the end this will come down to cost and as with Andrus Peat last offseason, I’m betting on the Saints betting on Lattimore’s upside and future development.

Prediction: Saints extend Lattimore 4 years

Many of us were blindsided with the Andrus Peat extension last offseason but it gave a good insight to how the Saints operate. They knew they were going to be overhauling the right guard position so they invested in Peat’s future potential and continuity on the left side. They also highly valued his versatility and the investment they have in him. The same mindset can be attributed to Lattimore here. The Saints realize that they will be overhauling the corner position with little money this offseason so look for them to invest in Lattimore’s future development and natural talent even though it might be at a cost many of us disagree with, the key will be to structure the deal in a way that keeps Lattimore motivated and the Saints protected.

 

 

5. Marcus Davenport, Defensive End

Unlike Lattimore, Davenport happens to play a position where the Saints suddenly have their entrenched starters. Also with the injuries mounting, Davenport is slowly falling into the Sheldon Rankins territory status. Davenport is a highly talented athlete but he’s not a very good football player and he’s running out of chances.

Prediction: Saints will decline Davenport’s 5th year option

Like Rankins, Davenport will be on the Saints 2021 roster due to the fact that no money will be saved by moving them unless the team can acquire draft picks via trade that they deem is more valuable than the depth they provide.

 

It’s time to say it… Davenport has been a bust!

 

Sorry, it’s simply the truth. Hopefully for the kid he can turn his career around in 2021 and use Trey Hendrickson’s 2020 season as inspiration. Unlike with Rankins, I’m unwilling to say 2021 will be Davenport’s last year with the team but its dam sure looking like it and with Carl Granderson nippin at his heels with 5 sacks this year, Davenport could be viewed as dead weight.

 

 

6. Ryan Ramczyk, Right Tackle

Ramczyk has quietly developed into one of the better tackles in the NFL and it was a shame he didn’t make the pro-bowl this year. He’s cemented himself as a future cornerstone of this franchise with his play on the field.

Prediction: Saints extend Ramczyk 4 years

Ramczyk’s extension will be much easier than Lattimore’s as the Saints won’t haggle much over language in the contract. Look for Ramczyk to get a deal making him one of, if not the highest paid right tackles in the game (back loaded of course).

 

 

7. Taysom Hill, Quarterback

Couldn’t make this list without including the most polarizing player on the Saints roster. Hill has been with the Saints since 2017 developing as a quarterback while also playing multiple roles on offense and special teams. This year he had an opportunity to start 4 games where in which he went 3-1 as a starter to mix reviews overall. With Drew Brees retiring this offseason and Hill returning on a 1 year 16.5 million dollar deal, the do it all Swiss army knife is set to have his chance to prove once and for all that not only is he an NFL quarterback but the next franchise quarterback of the New Orleans Saints.

Prediction: Hill erns an extension in 2021 but not the mega franchise QB deal he hopes for

I think Taysom Hill will prove in 2021 that he is in fact a NFL quarterback, what I think he will fail to prove is that he’s the franchise quarterback of the New Orleans Saints future. Still I think Hill will do enough and have enough support within the franchise to get a 3 year team friendly extension that allows the team to keep Hill onboard as the guy to get them to their next franchise quarterback whether that be via the draft or free agency.

 

 

Conclusion:

There are more players I could have added to this list but the above 7 were the ones I felt garnered the most mystery based on their play or contract situation.

 

What do you think?

 

WHODAT

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, whodatworm23 said:

It’s time to say it… Davenport has been a bust!

I was wondering earlier today how Davenport has turned out for you guys.  I liked him coming out of college, and I believe I had a top 20 grade on him.  He was one of the guys I was looking at as a potential pick at 14.  I wasn't a fan of trading down, but when I heard that we were getting a future FRP my opinion really changed.  And then seeing how "cheap" it was to move back up 18 relative to the Saints move to 14 I was stoked.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Davenport has only been a bust due to being constantly injured.  When he has played the past 2 seasons he's drastically improved our pass rush even if he wasn't the one that was getting the sacks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Davenport undoubtedly hasn't been worth the draft picks that were given up for him, but has been a solid player when healthy. He has flashed the talent at times, but it just hasn't been enough yet. With Hendrickson emerging, the writing is probably on the wall for Davenport. Hendrickson has a similar athletic profile to Davenport in terms of athletic ability and has shown to be a far better player this year. Guessing Davenport will not be resigned when the time comes.

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, CWood21 said:

I was wondering earlier today how Davenport has turned out for you guys.  I liked him coming out of college, and I believe I had a top 20 grade on him.  He was one of the guys I was looking at as a potential pick at 14.  I wasn't a fan of trading down, but when I heard that we were getting a future FRP my opinion really changed.  And then seeing how "cheap" it was to move back up 18 relative to the Saints move to 14 I was stoked.

Most of us figured at the time of the trade that the Saints were coming up for Lamar Jackson. It was a shock to many to see Davenport as the pick. I understood it, he fit the profile of what the Saints like at DE and they value that position in the 1st round but I did not agree with the compensation. It was far too much to give up for an unnproven prospect that was so raw. Then one at that that played majority of his college career standing up.

 

Hindsight is always 20/20 but to see you guys trade back and get Alexander (corner is an issue for us) and to see Lamar go 32 and see what he's become it just compounds the n negativity of the trade even more.

 

Personally I hate trade ups in the top round unless its for a QB you believe in. Especially if your giving up multipule 1st round picks! Davenport was a good prospect but it was a dumb move on our part.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Raves said:

Davenport has only been a bust due to being constantly injured.  When he has played the past 2 seasons he's drastically improved our pass rush even if he wasn't the one that was getting the sacks.

The best ability is availability.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JMG5 said:

We will trade for Deshaun Watson and create a dynasty for the next 10 years. Cap space is a myth. Loomis will figure something out. /s

Would never happen but there's no arguing Deshaun would look reaaaaaal real good in the black and gold.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...