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NFL Free Agency 2014: Potential Saints Player Cap Casualties

Below are answers to reader questions submitted Saturday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

Besides Harper, Smith and Vilma Which veterans do you think saints are most likely to cut? - Ali K.

To answer this question we need to look at players under contract who have 2014 salaries that are not in proportion to what they produce on the field. With defensive tackle John Jenkins playing well in his rookie season, Brodrick Bunkley is a likely candidate. His salary is expected to count $6,112,500 against the cap in 2014; cutting him would save the team $1,275,000. I'm also not optimistic that Jabari Greer will be able to make a successful comeback from his knee injury. Cutting Greer would save the team $3,175,000 in cap space. As much as I hate to say it, Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas are also potential candidates; cutting Moore would save $2,531,250 and cutting Thomas would save $2,900,000.


Should the Saints draft a place kicker? - Ben D.

The Saints obviously need a new kicker since Shayne Graham is not going to be the long-term answer. If they have a specific player in mind and think he won't be available when the draft is over then they should certainly pull the trigger and draft him before another team does. They selected punter Thomas Morstead and that turned out to be a wise decision. Then again, they also drafted Taylor Mehlhaff in 2008 which turned out to be a very bad decision. I'm so confused! I guess the real question we should be asking is whether or not there will be a place kicker in the draft worth drafting.


What's in the future for Charles Brown? - Phil W.

There are three directions in which I see Charles Brown's career heading from this point forward. The best case scenario is that he's given a chance to play right tackle, he excels, and he becomes the Saints starter. The most likely scenario is that he remains with the team as a backup tackle and offers a little depth. The third potential scenario is that he's let go from the team and we never see him again. What I don't see happening is Brown getting his starting left tackle job back from Terron Armstead.


What do you think Jimmy Graham is worth, as in trade value? ~ Tim P.

The correct answer is that Jimmy Graham is worth whatever a team will pay for him. Which is simply another way of saying there's really no way to answer this question legitimately. If I'm speculating and offering opinion, however, my guess would be a first round draft pick plus a couple of mid to late round picks, not necessarily in the same draft year. I think that would be a best-case scenario. Anything more than that - like two first round draft picks - would be highly unlikely. In addition, player-for-player trades don't seem too common in the NFL anymore so I don't envision a Graham-for-Gronkowski type of deal happening.


Some Saints fans seem to think that everything is all good at the WR position, despite the fact that the unit had by far their worst season in the Payton/Brees era. With Moore's future up in the air, Meachem a free agent, and Morgan coming back from a second season ending injury in 3 years, how do you feel about the wide receivers? Is it time to find new talent here, and if so, who would be some guys to look for via draft or free agency? - Ryan E.

The wide receivers could certainly stand an upgrade, that's true. But at the same time the Saints still had the NFL's 4th ranked offense overall - based on average yards per game - and had the second highest passing yards per game average in the league. It's not like they're bad.

Call me crazy but I'm still holding out hope for Nick Toon. And I fully expect Kenny Stills to be dangerous in his second year. So I don't think they need to upgrade too much but it would all but guarantee continued offensive success in 2014.

As for for finding new talent, they'll need to hit the free agency market if they want to upgrade immediately. Here is a quick list of ten of the top wide receiver free agents set to hit the open market this off-season. This would be a good place to start.

Eric Decker
Jeremy Maclin
Hakeem Nicks
Julian Edelman
Golden Tate
James Jones
Anquan Boldin
Andre Roberts
Emmanuel Sanders
Riley Cooper

Though if we want to be more realistic, I could see the Saints going after a guy like Baltimore's Jacoby Jones. He's not necessarily WR1 caliber but he'll be more affordable and he can contribute on special teams as a kick returner. He's also from New Orleans originally, having played high school football for Marion Abramson.