I found the timing of Jeremy Shockey's release very interesting. It was clear to the Saints' brass that he didn't fit into their 2011 plans, so they released him prior to the lockout. In the end the Saints did Shockey a favor, because he was able to sign a contract with the Panthers and hop on a team prior to league activity being frozen. At least he found some security in the swiftness of the Saints' decision.
If the team is going to end up making Randall Gay and Devery Henderson cap casualties too, why wouldn't they have released those guys around the same time? To me it seems like getting cut once the lockout ends really puts a veteran in a tough place, entering a free agent pool with a very short timeline.
In the Saints' defense, there was no way of knowing what the salary cap would end up being, and I'm sure Mickey Loomis was hoping he'd have the luxury of keeping these players if the cap turned out to be high enough. The cap looks like it will be set at around $120 million, and the Saints currently sit at approximately $105 million with a number of their own players still needing to be re-signed.
With the lockout scheduled to most likely end this week (knock on wood), the tenure of Devery Henderson and Randall Gay with the Saints could be coming to an end very soon.Reggie Bush is another player that of course could fit into this group, too, and we're all fairly familiar with that situation. We'll see how that plays out. Both sides have made it clear they'll at least attempt to restructure Bush's deal in an attempt to keep him in New Orleans. Whether or not that works out is still in question.
There is a chance that Henderson and Gay will both be extended that same courtesy, but the two LSU alumns have less value to Sean Payton. I think we all noticed Henderson's speed is maybe not quite as elite as it used to be, and his severe drop off in performance last year has left the door wide open for an emerging Adrian Arrington. Randall Gay spent almost all of 2010 on IR due to a concussion, and while he claims he's ready to go, are the Saints really going to pay him $4 million when they have Patrick Robinson, Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter and Johnny Patrick on the roster?
It seems pretty clear to me, both because of their declining and their rising salaries, that the writing is on the wall for Gay and Henderson. I like both guys in that they're local products, so I'd hate to see them go, but that's the reality of the business.
I have a two part question for you guys:
1. Will Devery Henderson and/or Randall Gay be given a chance to remain Saints by restructuring their current deals?
2. Will either player be back with the Saints in 2011?