Len Pasquarelli's weekly Tipsheet [danger: Insider] once again provides us with essential knowledge about the inner workings of the Saints organization.
* Are the Saints about to sign Will Smith to a long-term deal?? Quoth Pasquarelli:
Although the negotiations are only in the nascent stages, ESPN.com has confirmed that Saints officials have approached Smith -- the team's first-round pick in the 2004 draft and a player who is quickly emerging as one of the NFL's top two-way perimeter defenders -- about a new long-term contract extension.
Of course, since talks are still in such early stages, they could end at any moment. But it's nice to see the Saints acting so proactively to sign their good players.
* Is a Robert Meachem signing imminent? Pasquarelli points out that since six of the Saints' seven picks are under contract,
Meachem is already locked into a salary-cap number for the initial season of what will be a five-year contract. On those six picks, and the undrafted free agents the team signed, New Orleans has expended all but $992,630 of its rookie pool allocation of $2.378 million. And so Meachem's agent will have to strike a deal with a 2007 cap value of $992,630. That shouldn't be too difficult, since the first-rounder in the 27th slot a year ago, Carolina tailback DeAngelo Williams, received a contract with a first-year cap value of $980,000.
Of course this doesn't factor in discussions of Meachem's signing bonus, or the truth that no first round pick wants to be the first guy to sign. But Meachem needs to be in camp in the first few weeks. A holdout wouldn't be disastrous, but it would certainly be ill-advised.