Opinion: Saints Should Sign DE Alex Brown

Finally a little action going on in Who Dat Nation today. The Saints are going to kick the tires on free agent and former Chicago Bears defensive end Alex Brown when he arrives for a visit today, Chicago Breaking Sports reports

Brown was released four days ago after the Bears spent the week prior trying to trade him. Unfortunately for Chicago, they were unsuccessful and still unwilling to pay him the $5 million dollars he was owed next season, particularly given the addition of Julius Peppers' fat new contract. 

So is this guy worth a look?

Most times, I'd probably say no. There is always a reason aging, free agent lineman are looking for work in the NFL and usually it's not good. But I've done a little research and Alex Brown's case seems to be one of those rare instances when a talented, worthwhile player hits the open market. 

 "Good," one NFC personnel man familiar with the Bears said when told Brown was being cut loose today. "He's one of their better defensive players."

Before we get carried away, let's always keep in mind that Brown is 31 years old and has eight seasons under his belt. He's not great and certainly not getting better. But he's definitely good. Good enough that the Bears thought he was worth a trade.

I think this situation is very comparable to the decision by the Saints to let Scott Fujita walk earlier this off-season. Like Fujita, Brown is a solid, reliable player with a great work ethic. There's nothing really wrong with either of them but the timing just wasn't right and they're not currently worth all of what they're due to be paid. Their salary doesn't match their production. 

But one teams trash can sometimes be another teams treasure. Also like the departure of Fujita, feelings about Brown's absence is mixed. Most Chicago fans don't seem to agree with the decision to release the defensive end and are disappointed to see him go. Another good sign that Brown isn't washed up. Here are a few comments from SB Nation's Bears blog, Windy City Gridiron, that I cherry-picked...

I just don't understand this move

So stupid

Just plain dumb

Stuuupidest move ever.

why?

This makes negative sense, unless they’re freeing up money for something else.

Don't understand, ya think the Bears would stick with the guy who always works hard

This only makes sense

if they are freeing up money to go after Atogwe. Otherwise, it’s a really, really dumb move. 

Because his release was announced on April 1st, some fans didn't even know if they should believe the news...

April Fool's??

Pwease? :’(

Is this real or not, I'm confused......

And if that doesn't say enough about him, even the fans who agreed with Brown's release still had nice things to say about him...

compentent pro

Good guy, good attitude, good de. not worth 5m. Can and will be replaced. Wake up.

But this was probably the the most thoughtful comment made about their former defensive end...

The most consistent D-lineman the Bears have had the last eight seasons.

And the most cerebral.

Alex can sniff out a screen better than anyone. He’s solid against the run and a sure tackler. I always have appreciated the way he attacked the QB’s throwing arm (BIG CHOMP). Alex also never gave up on plays. If he was stopped on a rush, immediately he’d be looking for the passing lane to get a Bear paw on the ball. And when asked to drop back into coverage… well… he was the best at that too!

Most admirably, Alex Brown has been a class act. We all know about some of the Bears players gettin’ into some trouble. Alex was never one of them. And someone feel free to correct me on this, but wasn’t the reason why Alex Brown slipped so far in the draft to us, because their were questions raised about his character? If so, he proved them all wrong!

Thanks for eight solid seasons Alex!

Finally, in case none of that is convincing enough, listen to the man himself...

"I believe I can play four or five more years, I mean good years," he said. "Shoot, over the last four, five years I have been so close to having the magical number everyone looks for as far as sacks (10). As far as what I have been doing, I'm in my prime still."    

I know we've heard that diatribe many times before, most recently from Charles Grant when he was released a month ago, but by all accounts this situation appears to be different. Alex Brown is no Charles Grant...

 He epitomized the underrated qualities of heart, hustle and determination.

His ....

…. work ethic and attuide will always be what I remember him for 

Class act and real leader

I will miss seeing Alex Brown give it his all every snap of every game.

Alex is a class guy...

who always gave his best. While I understand the Bears not wanting to shell out the $5mil, it still hurts to see a solid guy not get paid! Especially when many other underachievers get more than they have earned. I hope the Bears don’t miss his consistency on the D-line. Good luck Alex!

Now it's just a question of how much this treasure is worth. If he's not worth $5 million, than what is Brown worth? Well, that's up to the Saints or another NFL team to decide. But it would seem fair to say it will be somewhere in the ballpark of $2 to $4 million dollars. 

This guy seems like a winner. The Saints haven't made any big additions to the roster yet this off-season. I'm hoping they make Alex Brown their first. 

Your thoughts?

Oh, and here are some numbers and charts for you to look at.  Enjoy.

 

Profile


Alex Brown

#96 / Chicago Bears

6-3

260

Jun 04, 1979

High School: Hamilton Co. HS (Jasper, FL)

 

Salary

Year Team Base Salary Sign Bonus Other Bonus Total Salary Cap Value Position

 

Career Stats


        Tackles                                                                      Interceptions
Year Team G Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int TDs Yds Avg Lng
2009 Chicago Bears 16 48 36 12 6.0 -- 1 -- -- -- 0.0 --
2008 Chicago Bears 16 44 42 2 6.0 -- 6 1 0 -2 -2.0 -2
2007 Chicago Bears 16 41 31 10 4.5 -- 5 1 0 7 7.0 7
2006 Chicago Bears 16 46 40 6 7.0 -- 2 2 0 22 11.0 18
2005 Chicago Bears 16 45 38 7 6.0 -- 6 -- -- -- 0.0 --
2004 Chicago Bears 16 50 39 11 6.0 -- 8 -- -- -- 0.0 --
2003 Chicago Bears 16 58 48 10 5.5 -- 5 1 0 0 0.0 0
2002 Chicago Bears 15 40 31 9 2.5 -- 3 -- -- -- 0.0 --
TOTAL 127 372 305 67 43.5 0 36 5 0 27 -- 18

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