Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
So far so good for the Saints in 2013 free agency.
When the New Orleans Saints announced that they had tendered restricted free agent running back Chris Ivory with a second-round tender, it made perfect sense to do so. In fact it would be a win-win for the club either way.
If another team wanted Ivory they would have to give up a second-round draft pick that the team had lost as part of the bounty punishments last year. If nobody came calling, then they keep Ivory for another year and hopefully we'd find the answer to the burning question as to why his playing time was diminished last season.
Center Brian de la Puente also got a second-round tender in another good move by the Saints. After he took over as the starting center, de la Puente has become a fixture of the offensive line. The Saints will likely not lose him because no other team will want to give up a second-round pick. But if by some miracle one did, then the club could recoup quickly.
With Junior Galette the double announcement that he had signed a three-year deal was only made sweeter by the fact that he has officially been moved from defensive end to an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme. So far this is the biggest genius move of general manger Mickey Loomis on the eve of free agency.
Simply put, if the club had tried to put a second-round tender on Galette, chances are that a team like the San Francisco 49ers, who have two second-round picks, might have snatched him up to bolster their already formidable defensive front. Instead the Saints did the right thing in giving Galette what he has been wanting which is a nice contract for the 2010 undrafted free agent who has generated 9.5 sacks in his three years with the team.
There is only one more restricted free agent to take care of which is long snapper Justin Drescher. Like Galette, Drescher joined the Saints in 2010 and has become a reliable fixture on special teams. The Saints could extend a second-round tender to Drescher but most likely will get a right of first refusal tender in the amount of $1.323 million.