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Demeco Ryans: Why Not?

That's the question Saints fans should have been asking themselves. You know, before Roger Goodell's hammer dropping. According to this report from former Houston Texans LB Demeco Ryans was had for a fourth round pick in this years draft, as well as a swap of thirds. For a MLB of his his calibre, that's a paltry sum. After the jump, we'll find out a little more about Ryans, why he was available, and why the Saints couldn't get in on the sweepstakes.

Demeco Ryans is going into his seventh year in the NFL, the first six being spent with Houston. He had 100+ tackles in each of his first four seasons, with a high of 155 in his Rookie of the Year campaign. He also has 8.5 sacks in his career, to go along with 6 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. For a 27 year old MIKE backer, those are some very good statistics.

So, why was he available for such a low price? Well, in 2010, Ryans suffered a devastating achilles tear, limiting his season to just six games. In 2011, Wade Phillips brought his 3-4 system to Houston, and for most of the season, Ryan looked...out of place. A natural 4-3 MLB, he was outshone by third year pro, Brian Cushing. When you add a slow recovery time from his injury to a poor fit in a new scheme, you get a player on the outside looking in. Factor in his $5.9 MM cap hit, and the progression of second year player Darryl Sharpton, and Ryans departure was a foregone conclusion.

$5.9MM cap hit this year. It seems like that pill was a bit too big for Saints brass to swallow for a guy coming off his worst full season as a pro. Because it's not like they've ever had success with that before, especially at the MLB position. Right, Jonathan Vilma? In fact, Vilma was in a very similar position to Ryans. A former Defensive Rookie of the Year, coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2007, and being placed in a 3-4, Vilma was unhappy playing for Eric Mangini and the Jets. So, they shipped him to New Orleans for a fourth round pick in 2008(#113 overall, Dwight Lowery), and a conditional pick, which ended up as a third rounder in 2009 (76th overall, eventually traded to Detroit, DeAndre Levy).

Should the Saints have tried to get into this trade? I think so. Could they have? It looks like there hands were tied by the cap. As nice as it would have been to see #59 in black and gold (which also would have eliminated the need to sign a big name like Curtis Lofton), it seems like it was financially impossible.