Despite the fact that the 2012 NFL free agency period isn't even over, the folks at ESPN have already assigned grades to all 32 teams based on their off-season wheeling and dealing thus far.
Surprisingly, not because the Saints had a horrible off-season but because they rarely get the respect they deserve, ESPN doesn't think the Saints did too bad, giving them a slightly above average 'B' grade. That's also good enough for sixth best in the NFC. Here is their complete analysis:
Key additions: QB Drew Brees (franchised), DT Brodrick Bunkley, WR Marques Colston (re-sign), LB Curtis Lofton, G Ben Grubbs
Key losses: G Carl Nicks, CB Tracy Porter, WR Robert Meachem
Analysis: What an offseason for the Saints. Despite the scandal and controversy, New Orleans was able to add and retain quality players for its roster. However, it lost a ton of talent as well. The loss of Nicks is significant, as he very well could be the best guard in football, although Grubbs is a strong consolation prize. He was often the best O-lineman on the field for the Ravens last season. The Saints and Colston probably realized that Colston being in New Orleans was the best move for both player and team. The Saints made an excellent signing by adding Bunkley, one of the better run-stopping 4-3 defensive tackles in the NFL. Along those lines, adding Lofton could pay serious dividends, particularly in run defense. It has been a roller coaster offseason in New Orleans ... and the Saints still need to get Brees locked up with a long-term contract. Not to mention that Bill Parcells could be coming to town.
I'd say that's about right. Nothing really I can argue with here. Not great by any means but definitely respectable, especially considering all the extra nonsense they've had to deal with this off-season.
So what do you think about the Saints off-season moves thus far? Do you agree with ESPN's analysis? What grade would you give the Saints?