The New Orleans Saints made their first big splash in free agency yesterday when they agreed to terms with tight end Coby Fleener to a 5-year, $36 million contract. For those of you keeping score at home, Fleener does not rush the passer, he doesn't create turnovers, and he doesn't protect Drew Brees in the pocket.
I'm sure you get where I'm going with this.
First of all, $7 million per year? Did the Saints have to pay that much to land Fleener? Not if you're letting the market dictate value like every other normal NFL team. Ladarius Green was Walter Football's top rated free agent tight end and he just got $5 million/year from the Steelers. Ben Watson got $4 million a year. So how does Fleener command $7 million annually? I swear the Saints just like to throw money down the toilet. It's like they don't even care what other teams are spending. Maybe that's why they're in the financial situation they currently find themselves.
And let's talk about need. Sure, you could make an argument that tight end was a position of need, especially with Ben Watson leaving for greener pastures in Baltimore. And certainly this is going to help the offense remain one of the best in the league and hopefully help extend Drew Brees' shelf life. But I don't think you could argue it was a top 3 need. If the Saints had $7 million to throw around, they could have signed linebacker Danny Trevathan, a member of the Super Bowl-winning Broncos defense, for $6.125 million per year.
Don't get me wrong. Fleener is a good player and will most likely be a good fit for this offense. I'm just saying he could have probably been had for cheaper and he doesn't address any of the Saints top needs. So now the Saints have less money to spend and still have the same crappy defense.
The good news - and I'm hoping the Saints have this in the back of their mind when it comes to their free agency plan - is that this year's draft has plenty of defensive talent. More than usual. So I'm assuming the team plans to address most of their defensive needs there.
But even still, the next damn free agent the Saints sign had better be on the defensive side of the ball. Or a guard.