Well, it's that time of year again when the tough decisions must be made rather we like it or not. Players come and players go. I always try not to get too emotionally attached to an individual player and look at what is best for the team. It makes it much easier to hold players accountable in that regard and to not defend them for past accomplishments alone. This holds even more true if their recent contributions might be less than positive or maybe an outright liability to the team. So with that in mind, I ask you.....Who is currently expendable on the roster?
Some could make a case for quite a few of our players who might not deserve a roster spot or that we could easily "upgrade." Some players could be used as "trade bait" to try and move up in the draft while others might feel they are worth more money than we will be willing to offer them. First, I'd like to look at players whose roster spot might not be "set in stone"......
David Thomas (TE) I like David Thomas and he is a good tight end. He signed a 3-year 5.5 million dollar deal in 2011 and it seemed as he would be around for the foreseeable future. Sadly he dealt with concussion problems all year long and 2011 was pretty much a lost season for him. Seeing that our depth at TE was tested this season, I wouldn't be surprised if the Saints target a TE in the later rounds of the draft. Thomas could find himself having some competition as the number two tight end.
Devery Henderson (WR) Another sub-par season for Devery and I think I have seen enough. His long yardage catch every 4 or 5 games does not justify him having a roster spot and I think we could definitely upgrade at his spot. Devery disappears for large portions of the season and it seems like right around the time everyone has forgotten about him, he makes a long yardage catch to remind us that he does exist. He is coming into a contract year in 2012.
Scott Shanle (LB) What can I say about Mr. Shanle that hasn't already been said? He knows the system and that is about the only good thing I can say. He is slow, non-athletic and should have been given his walking papers before this season even started......he was given a two year contract instead. His contributions might be the most easily replaced out of any player on this list.
We need to move up in the draft. It makes me sick to start picking at the end of the second round. There are a lot of players that aren't gonna be on the board that we could utilize greatly. We dont even have to trade back into the first round but we need to start our draft higher than where we currently sit. Also, I don't like the idea of trading second round picks with someone so I didn't even consider that scenario. I think we need to keep our current pick and add a higher one. So, I now introduce my picks for trade bait.......
Pierre Thomas (RB) Pierre is our number one player who fits the "trade bait" label. I love PT and I really don't want to see him go anywhere but I want to do what is best for the team overall. Losing PT will hurt us but with our depth at running back.....it won't hurt us a greatly as losing a player at another position. We are 4 deep at running back and I think Ivory did more than enough to get the job done late in the season. Ivory isn't gonna have much trade potential due to his injury history. PT could be the number one running back on quite a few teams and I have no doubt that someone would give up a second round pick for him. Spending that first round pick on Ingram made it clear that he was the future at RB and sadly....made PT expendable.
Sedrick Ellis (DT) Ellis has never lived up to his 7th overall draft pick status. He has not proven anything other than being an average DT at the least and a "solid" performer at best. I think we could find someone else to replace him and get similar production at possibly a cheaper cost. I don't think a team would give up a second round pick for him unless they were completely desperate. Although I can definitely see him being used as "trade bait" if another team would be willing to give up to a second rounder in a packaged deal that also includes one of our later picks or another player. As long as we would be able to keep our current second round pick....I would be okay with that scenario.
Roman Harper (SS) I don't have a problem with Harper like some other fans do. I think he is what he is and I don't know why people get upset when he fails at doing something that he was never good at to begin with. It isn't his fault that he was constantly put into position to cover someone man to man. The guy is a hard hitter, a run stuffer, and is pretty good at getting to the quarterback. I think he has more trade value than some people might think. I think he can have success if you don't put him in the position to fail. I really don't want to to trade him because we really don't have anyone else that can take his place. Yeah, we probably could sign a better cover SS in FA but we would be losing all the other things he is good at which I mentioned above. I could see someone giving up to a second round pick for him in a packaged deal.
So now we are left with players whose contracts are up and I feel like we shouldn't resign. I'm tempted to put Colston on this list just because I think spending the amount of money he is gonna want would do more harm to the team than good. I do not want to lose him and I am fine with overpaying for him a little as long as it is realistic. It is really up to him and the ball is squarely in his court. Before I am chased with pitchforks for even mentioning letting Colston walk, in my defense, I am just being realistic. A bad team will offer him more money than we will.
Robert Meachem (WR) You all know I don't like him and I feel like we could've used that first round pick on a LB (Posluszny was available). He hasn't lived up to expectations and he has been outplayed by UDFA Lance Moore. He disappears for weeks at a time and might be good for 1 or 2 games a year. He doesn't fight for yardage, is scared to take a hit, and constantly runs out of bounds. Just like Devery, he reappears just when everyone forgot he existed. We can find an upgrade at his spot and might already have someone on the team that can do what we ask of him and might even do it better (Joe Morgan). Let another team overpay him for his speed and "veteran" status.
Tracy Porter (CB) He will always be a Saints legend. I doubt I would get any argument from anyone about that. I have several newspaper pictures of his 09 interceptions framed and hung on the wall in my living room. The guy "used" to be a great corner and I would have called you crazy two years ago if you told me in the near future I would be arguing not to resign him. But he has regressed dramatically and I now label him as a liability. He is not the same cornerback he was two years ago and I'm just guessing that his frequent injuries has something to do with it. Could he make a comeback? Of course he could but it is too risky in my opinion seeing that he has missed a total of 21 games in his 4 year career.
Shaun Rodgers and Abrayo Franklin (DT) Well.....I guess you could say they both didn't exactly "wow" anyone and you would figure they would be playing at their highest level seeing that they only signed one year deals. They were on a good team, playing for a title all year long, and this was a great chance for them both to audition for a long term deal either with us or another team. I know they both made a play on occasion but the one thing that jumps out in my mind is the monster hit that Rodgers put on Matt Stafford, which I guess you could say was meaningless in the bigger picture, but it was pretty fun to watch. I would not complain if we decided not to resign either of them but I would be okay with resigning one of them to another short deal. Maybe our new DC could work some magic.
So that's my thoughts. I hate to see players go but we all know it is inevitable and apart of the business of football. Sometimes the positive of losing a player far outweighs the negative. I hate to argue the release of a beloved player but it is necessary in some cases. I wish it didn't feel like betrayal though.