While we sit here in the severely limited area of being a final four team, it leaves us fans, bloggers, and general football people into wondering who our team could possibly sign to make this team better. You may ask yourself who in God's name is out there that we could sign that would bring anything to this team? I have possibly thought of a reasonable way to work around this limitation and see what we've got. So I've compiled a list of new free agents that have been RELEASED by their teams, making them eligible to sign with any team (including final 8 teams) without anyone giving anyone up.
It's worth noting that most of the guys on this list would be situational players or backups if they came to this team. I'm saying this so no one comes down on me saying how they could possibly be any help as a starter. So I shall begin!
- Will Witherspoon, linebacker. Witherspoon has the wonderful gift of intelligence. He's not going to "wow" you by any means athletically or statistically, but he possesses the unique ability to play every linebacker position in a 4-3, and could benefit the Saints well as a potential fourth linebacker, taking Mark Simoneau's spot, or as a stop-gap in case we should lose out on UFA Scott Fujita. Witherspoon still possesses the ability to be a starter on a bunch of teams, but he's not really anything too amazing. On the other hand, neither are either of our current OLBs. Not to say I'm hating on them or saying they suck, I just think they're adequate players of their positions and excel in some areas while dropping off in others.
- Joey Porter, linebacker. This one is sure to fire some people up, but I'm just throwing this possibility out there. The Saints need a rush linebacker, and Porter is the best one available to us at the moment. He's got a ton of character issues since he's one of the league's biggest divas, but he has consistently brought the thunder in the sack area, even in a reserve role last season with the Dolphins. He could be a valuable part to what projects as being a not-so-great pass rushing defense (again) next year, considering the loss of Grant, the underwhelming season by McCray, and the potential loss of Fujita. While I HIGHLY doubt he'll be wearing the Black and Gold next year, there's always a possibility, and he could help us, even though he's coming from a 3-4.
- Jake Delhomme, quarterback. Let's start with saying he was an interception MACHINE last year, but so was Jay Cutler, and he's still on a team. Delhomme's days of being a potential starter in this league are still there, but I certainly think he'd opt for a backup role for his hometown team. He may not be the sexiest choice ever, but they guy isn't totally inept at the position. He's still got some ability left in him, and based on what Brunell has done (or not done) for this team, I don't see any way that he'd be a bad choice for us. He had an awfully pathetic season, but a lot can be blamed on that line. They lost their elite left tackle with a broken leg, and the whole line just gave up on blocking for him. So, I think a player with his experience and knowledge of the game can give us a boost, while at the same time not being fragile and generally crappy overall. I'd much rather have Delhomme as a band-aid should Brees go down than little lefty Mark Brunell, but we'll see what the team thinks.
- Since everyone pretty much seems to agree with each other that an empty space is better than Lito Sheppard, I've come up with a few more possibilities at cornerback, but I'm not so sure if they'll be available to us considering our situation because they were not released and are traditional free agents. Benny Sapp and Rod Hood. Hood I'm sure was released, so he is definitely a possibility, but Sapp was not. Rod Hood and Sapp both are very unique players. They're not full season starters, and they're not number one corners, but they're both solid, hard-nosed football players who have stepped their game up when they had to. Hood stepped up and was playing great football in his short stint with the Titans, but was cut when the ancient Nick Harper came back from injury, only to stink up the joint. Sapp also played great when asked to step in for Antoine Winfield. They do things that the corners we currently have don't; they step up when they are asked to. Either of these guys could be a nice asset to our team, but I think the likelihood of them coming down here is slim.
This list will grow, so check back for updates.