clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Addition by Subtraction or Addition by...Addition?

It's a fact that after every season, NFL teams begin the process of improving their roster during the long off-season months. These improvements can come about in two different ways: Getting rid of certain players/coaches and adding others. Most often, and rightfully so, it's the big name free agent signings or the top round draft choices that get talked about most. But after the Saints didn't re-sign Josh Bullocks and let go of Gary Gibbs this off-season, I started wondering if getting rid of a player or coach could be just as important to the betterment of a team as who they add.

We know defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs has been replaced by Gregg Williams and hope this is going to be an improvement for the Saints. If this turns out to be the case, which half of this defensive coordinator transition would factor most in the Saints defensive improvement; the absence of Gibbs or the presence of Williams? In reality, it's a combination of the two. But is it possible that one could play a larger role than the other? Perhaps Gibbs' system really was that bad and any new defensive coordinator would provide better results than what Gibbs was able to accomplish. If that was the case than I think it would be safe to assume that getting rid of Gibbs was more important than actually choosing the correct replacement, whoever that may have been. And this logic could just as easily apply to the players on the field. Anybody has got to be better than Josh Bullocks, right? Also remember that with a limited number of spots, roster re-arranging is a zero sum game. Every time the Saints sign a player, someone else has to go. Are the Saints getting rid of the right players or are they releasing a future Pro Bowler?

So let's get a little philosophical with this today. On the whole, have the Saints improved more because of the players they have added or because of the players they've gotten rid of this off-season? Are there at least specific instances where this was true this off-season? Is it even possible that getting rid of a player/coach is more important than acquiring one?

As a quick refresher and to help facilitate discussion, here is a list of some personnel that are not returning to New Orleans this season as well as some players who will be making their regular season debut with the team. This list is meant for illustration purposes only and is not making any comparisons.

Position Former Player New Player
Def. Coordinator
Gary Gibbs
Gregg Williams
CB Aaron Glenn Malcolm Jenkins
S Kevin Kaesviharn Darren Sharper
Mike McKenzie
Jabari Greer
S Josh Bullocks Pierson Prioleau
TE Mark Campbell Darnell Dinkins, Dan Campbell
RB Aaron Stecker Lynell Hamilton
DT Hollis Thomas Rod Coleman
C Matt Lehr Nick Leckey
DT Brian Young DeMario Pressley
FB Mike Karney Heath Evans
DE Josh Savage Paul Spicer