As the Who Dat Nation has come to expect in recent years, the New Orleans Saints face a challenging salary cap situation in 2015. The bright side is: there aren't many pending free agents who will break the bank. There is no Jimmy Graham contract situation to keep us entertained through the 2015 offseason, so what kind of free agent moves should we expect in the coming months?
Running back Mark Ingram, who was finally able to redeem himself this past season, is the only free agent who may start any kind of a bidding war. The Saints should be able to retain or replace everyone else on the list fairly easily; but will they try to lock Ingram in with a tag, or take their chances with him against the open market?
Likely the latter.
The franchise tag for running backs is far too expensive to drop on any member of the New Orleans running committee, regardless of how much Ingram's performance may have improved last year. And their signing of running back Tim Hightower last month may indicate that they would rather plan on replacing Ingram than spend much to keep him around.
That said, if the Saints are going to label any player with the "franchise" or "transition" tag, today is the first day to do so.
The new league year opens at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. Central) on March 10th, when unrestricted free agents can sign with any team. Here’s a list of the Saints' unrestricted and restricted free agents for the 2015 offseason. Senio Kelemete is the only exclusive rights free agent from the 2014 squad, and the team has chosen to pick up the option on his contract:
Brandon Deaderick, DL
Moise Fokou, LB
Jonathan Goodwin, C
Shayne Graham, K (Signed Feb 12th: 1 year, $970,000)
Parys Haralson, LB (Signed Feb 12th: 1 year, $870,000)
Ramon Humber, LB
Mark Ingram, RB
Luke McCown, QB (Signed Feb 5th: 1 year, $970,000)
Robert Meachem, WR
Patrick Robinson, CB
Jamarca Sanford, S
Travaris Cadet, RB
Bryce Harris, OT
Tyrunn Walker, DL
Senio Kelemete, G (Contract Extension Announced Feb 9th: 1 year, $585,000)