First off, a big thank you to Dave and the rest of you for offering me the opportunity to write on a regular basis here! I’m very glad to add my voice to the rest of the great staff here at CSC.
I’m going to start a free agency preview series, beginning with one of the Saints biggest weaknesses: defensive end. They currently have only four defensive ends signed to the roster for next year - Will Smith, Junior Galette, Greg Romeus and Cameron Jordan. I don’t know about you, but that does not inspire confidence in the team's ability to rush the passer, no matter who the defensive coordinator is.
Saints Defensive End Depth Chart Last Year: Will Smith, Turk McBride, Cam Jordan, Jeff Charleston, Junior Galette, Greg Romeus (IR). McBride and Charleston are free agents, although those are probably the two that can be replaced easiest.
The Free Agents: Turk McBride had four tackles and two sacks all of last season, so he’s probably walking. Cam Jordan took over his starting spot early in the season, and never looked back. McBride played in eight games, only starting two of them. He won’t be missed.
Jeff Charleston had nine tackles and one sack, in ten games played. Of the two, Charleston is probably the most likely to come back, although it would likely be a one year, veteran minimum contract. Again, he wouldn’t be missed if he was allowed to walk.
The Rest of the Roster: Will Smith is the most accomplished member of the Saints defensive line, while Junior Galette is the best pass rusher on the team right now. Cam Jordan had a solid rookie season, and will hopefully improve with a full off-season and new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Greg Romeus is the big unknown here, having spent all of last year on injured reserve. Drafted in the seventh round out of Pitt last year, he was a great pass rusher in college. The team can only hope that translates well in his first healthy season.
One sentence free agency prediction: Jeff Charleston gets re-signed, Will Smith gets cut, and a top flight pass rusher (Cliff Avril, Mario Williams, etc.) gets brought in, adding depth in the draft.