Immediately after the Super Bowl, the Saints were faced with the challenge of finding a new defensive coordinator. Steve Spagnuolo's complete flop in 2012 led to this. Early on, reports stated that Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini were the leaders to fill the void. Surprisingly (or was it?) Rob Ryan busted on the scene and was hired to be the general in charge of the Saints new 3-4 scheme.
The Saints seemed to be trying to make a splash early in free agency, as they were reportedly interested in former Ravens defensive end Paul Kruger. We all knew that they were trying to bolster their pass rush for next season, but it was surprising to hear Kruger was on the radar. He proved to be too expensive, as the Saints finished second to the Cleveland Browns in the Kruger Sweepstakes.
As well as the pass rushing department, the Saints were in the market for another cornerback. With Nnamdi Asomugha and Antoine Winfield available, good experience was definitely there for the taking. Enter Keenan Lewis. I, for one, was questioning the new five year, $26.3 million dollar man. This was prior to my research on him, though. Finding out that he led the league in passes defended (23) and allowed a completion percentage of less than 53% in 2012 was a pleasant surprise.
Rob Ryan's presence was already proving to be an influence as he pushed to bring Victor Butler and Nnamdi Asomugha to the Saints, both of whom were his former players. Both guys were visiting with teams other than the Black & Gold too, though.
The Saints also had a hole to fill at the tight end position, but it wasn't too drastic. I figured that they would wait until the middle rounds of the draft to grab a guy, but that theory was proven wrong when they signed Benjamin Watson, former Patriot and Brown, to a three-year $4.95 million dollar deal. A lot of experts were saying that the Saints could have one of the best one-two tight end punches in 2013 with Graham and Watson.
About a week later, outside linebacker Victor Butler joined the Saints on a two-year deal. Kenyon Coleman, another Cowboy, followed his teammate soon after on a one-year deal. The two aren't standouts, but anybody would be an improvement for the Saints porous defense. All joking aside, they will be good fits in Rob Ryan's defense.
Up to this point, Luck McCown is the most recent addition to the Saints. The veteran has been a perennial backup quarterback who will fill that void left by Chase Daniel, who left for Kansas City.
In my opinion, the Saints have had a pretty successful off-season so far. They've added good personnel for highly needed positions on defense and depth to offensive positions. As much as fans, including myself, wanted Nnamdi to hop aboard, it might be a blessing in disguise that he chose to go to San Francisco. He could prove to be "washed up" and just looking for more money. Along with these additions, the Saints also resigned key players such as Courtney Roby, Ramon Humber, Will Herring, Junior Galette, and Justin Drescher.
With a shade over $2 million left in salary cap room, the Saints can really only add one more person through free agency; that is if trades or re-structures aren't in future plans to create more room. Look for Bryant McKinnie to be that possible addition. He is a huge offensive tackle (6'8", 360 lbs.) who could serve as a stop-gap for a year or two. He didn't start any regular season games in 2012, but he started every postseason game for the Ravens.
Other than investing interest in McKinnie, it's time for the Saints to start preparing for the 2013 draft.