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Draftmageddon: The Return of the Drunk Hooker - Saints To Make Big Splash in Free Agency?

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In this 5th installment of our offseason maxi-series, we'll look into the Drunk Hooker's way-back machine to see if it's likely that the Saints make a big move early in free agency and check out the non-draft acquisitions of 2010 and 2011.

Try to kick it between the uprights, Josh.
Try to kick it between the uprights, Josh.
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Here we are, CSC Faithful, on the verge of NFL Free Agency 2016, and today teams may enter into negotiations with the agents of free agents but can't officially sign anyone until 4:00 pm eastern time on Wednesday, when the new league year begins.

In honor of this momentous occasion, the first part of this edition of Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker will break down the history of the Saints' activity in the early days of free agency since 2012 to help us figure out if it is likely that the Saints will make a BIG SPLASH signing this year.

But as always, we open with links to the previous episodes of this roster building series...

Week One - Scouting the Scouts

Week Two - 2016 Player Acquisition Dates and the 2006 and 2007 non-draft acquisitions

Week Three - The 2008 non-draft player acquisitions

Week Four - Inside the Mind of Jeff Ireland and the 2009 non-draft player acquisitions

Let's get right into it!

In 2012, the new league year began on March 13. On March 14, the New Orleans Saints' star G Carl Nicks signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and on March 15, the Saints signed 28-year old G Ben Grubbs to a five year, $36 million contract.

The 2013 new league year started on March 12, and on March 14, the Saints signed 27-year old CB Keenan Lewis to a five year, $26.3 million contract.  This was following the 2012 season in which P-Rob and Jabari Greer opened the campaign as the starting CBs.

In 2014, the new league year was rung in on March 11, and after letting previous starting FS Malcolm Jenkins know in no uncertain terms that he'd be "given the opportunity" to ply his trade elsewhere, Payloo made the blockbuster signing of 27-year old S Jairus Byrd (six years, $56 million). MJ signed with the Eagles on the same day.

After the 2015 league year began on March 10, the Saints grabbed up 30-year old CB Brandon Browner on March 12, and then nabbed 27-year old RB CJ Spiller (4 years, $18 million) on March 13.

So, it seems that no matter the "dire" cap "woes" that the Saints have faced, Payloo have gone out and spent freely to grab relatively young, rising-star starters at areas of perceived need for each of the last four seasons.

Whom do you think Payireloo might have their eyes on this year for their usual BIG SPLASH in the early days of free agency? The Saints could use immediate help in the front seven on defense, so DL and LB are in need of WIN NOW upgrades. They cut Jahri Evans loose recently, and since we know that any WIN NOW effort starts and ends with keeping Drew Brees upright, maybe a rising-star, beefy G is in their sights.

* * *

Here are your 2010 non-draft acquisitions...

Date

Player/How Acquired

April 6

Signed FA DE Alex Brown

April 20

Signed FA DE Jimmy Wilkerson

May 3

Signed UDFA RB Chris Ivory

May 5

Signed UDFA DE Junior Galette

October 15

Signed FA OL Brian Dela Puente

And these are the 2011 non-draft acquisitions...

Date

Player/How Acquired

March 2

Signed FA DT Shaun Rogers

July 27

Signed UDFA Joe Morgan

July 29

Agreed to terms with FA RB/KR Darren Sproles

July 29

Agreed to terms with FA LB Will Herring

August 3

Agreed to terms with FA DT Aubrayo Franklin

August 5

Agreed to terms with FA C Olin Kreutz (waived/vested veteran/ left squad October 2011)

Best of the Best

None.

Good Get

The Saints got a Good Get when they acquired 28-year old Darren Sproles to be the guy they couldn't get Reggie Bush to be, and he lived up to his billing as a rushing/receiving/punt return threat in his three years with the Saints. He blew everyone away in 2011 with over 1300 yards from scrimmage and 10 total TDs (with one coming on a punt return), and then broke his hand in 2012, causing him to miss some games and lose production, and then after a pretty good year in 2013, the team traded him to the Eagles in March of 2014 for a 5th-round pick, where he'd go on to earn two consecutive pro bowl berths as a punt returner.

Chris TUSK!!!! Ivory was a post-2010 Draft UDFA pickup who worked his way into the starting lineup as a rookie 4 times, bashing and dashing his way to 137 carries, 716 yards, and 5 TDs that year. I thought the team had found a part-time power back who could hold court @ the RB conference room table with PT and Reggie for years. But then Ivory couldn't "help the club from the tub" and only made four starts in 2011 and 2012 combined. The Saints dealt him to the Jets for a 4th-round pick in 2013 that was bundled in a trade-up deal to net the Saints FFDT John Jenkins.  Rising from virtually nothing to a decent rookie year, with an awesome highlight-reel TD run against the Falcons, and then getting a 4th-round pick for him puts him in the overall Good Get range.

DE Junior Galette's "rags to riches to rags" story with the Saints is like no other.  He came out of nowhere as a UDFA (after spending time at Temple University and then Stillman College because of personal issues) to become a pass-rushing force in five seasons with the Saints. Following a career year in 2013, he was signed to a lucrative four-year contract extension before the 2014 regular season started. But less than a year later, he was released by the Saints due to numerous character concern issues that "finally became too much". Stats-wise, he was overall a Good Get, and while some call him a disappointment, my disappointment lies in the Saints' front office for blowing it on this guy in 2014 and 2015.

"That Portuguese Good Get Kid" C Brian De La Puente was signed by the Saints in 2010 after bouncing around the league as a UDFA for a couple of years. It was a good thing he came along when he did, because he became the de facto 2011 starter at center after Olin Kreutz quit on the team in October. DLP started for two full seasons after that, providing the team with steady, mostly unspectacular play and then the team allowed him to catch the FA train to Chicago with Aaron Kromer in April 2014.

Meh...He's a JAG

In 2010, 29-year old DE Jimmy Wilkerson was coming off a career year but also had torn his ACL in December, so the Saints got him on a cheap, aging veteran one-year contract.  He played that year for the Saints as a backup and then went to Seattle in 2011 before hurting his knee in the final preseason game and never played again. Meh.

After a promising 2012 with a staggering 37.9 yards per catch and 3 TDs on 10 receptions, Saints brass and fans thought they just might have the next Devery-esque speedster WR on their hands in former UDFA Joe Morgan. But a bad knee injury in the 2013 training camp ended his season, and he could never quite make it all the way back due to injuries and personal demons.  Although he displayed potential when he played, it was such a small sample size, and since it didn't cost the Saints much to give him those chances to prove himself, he gets a meh designation here.

LB Will "JAG" Herring came in on a wave of meh, played with a great degree of meh as a backup, and then left with barely a meh of a ripple after three seasons. I don't hate him, but I don't love the JAG, either.

Aging FAFFDT Aubrayo Franklin arrived in August 2011 on a one-year "prove it" contract, and he proved that he couldn't do it on the Saints defense and was allowed to leave after a season of meh.

Disappointment

The Saints brought in the soon-to-be 31-year old DE Alex Brown on a relatively cheap, aging veteran two-year "meh"-style contract and barely got one year of aging starter production out of him in 2010. This would turn out to be Mr. Brown's final year in the league.  He's a borderline JAG/Disappointment, and since he only played one year, he fits in the DISAPPOINTMENT+ level.

Even though the Saints got aging C Olin Kreutz on the cheap early in 2011 Training Camp sponsored by Payloo because the young Matt Tennant was quickly labeled a bust as Jonathan Goodwin's in-house replacement, he DISAPPOINTED us all by quitting in October of that year after getting pushed around and dinged up while "playing" for the Saints.

Aging FAFF 3-time pro bowler DT Shaun Rogers was signed to decent starter money on a one-year deal in April 2011, but he could only muster 4 starts in his one year on a horrendous Saints defense before they let him walk, no, DISAPPOINTINGLY waddle out of town.

Drunk Hooker

She took a couple of seasons off, I guess.

* * *

Roster Round-Up (February 29 - March 6)

The Saints still haven't released Brandon Browner, but March 9 is almost here!

Khiry Robinson thinks he's a gone pecan.

So long, and thanks for the fish, Marques Colston!

Scobee Scobee Kick!! (But I've heard he's only comfortable with Shaggy as his holder.)

Senio Kelemete reportedly re-signs.

LB James Laurinaitis reportedly visited on Tuesday (and cheated on the Saints with a Falcons visit last week, too), and Mike Triplett says that among others, they should be looking at LB Derrick Johnson and DE Robert Ayers, too.

Clayton thinks a cheap possible option for the Saints to have the time of their lives at G might be by taking J.R. Sweezy out onto the dance floor.

McShay and Walter are still mocking us with A'Shawn (Gesundheit! Thanks. Ugh, this cold will NOT go away.).