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New Orleans Saints Receive Lowest Offseason Grade in NFC South

It's been a recurring theme - the Saints 2016 offseason left a lot to be desired.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Barnwell of ESPN graded all four of the NFC South teams offseason. Even with losing Josh Norman, the Carolina Panthers grade out tops of the NFC South with a B-, carried strongly by their handling of Charles Johnson.

In the middle of the pack were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons C and C+ respectively.

That leaves your New Orleans Saints picking up the rear with a D- grade.

While the Saints added help on the defensive line both in free agency (Nick Fairley) and the draft (Sheldon Rankins), the overpay for Coby Fleener and the lack of extension for Quarterback Drew Brees were the biggest marks against. Strangely, the failure to sign former Panthers CB Josh Norman was also counted against the Saints, but I think unfairly so.

While the Saints did not sign Josh Norman, are they really any worse off this offseason than to be expected? No one expected the Panthers to revoke the franchise tag placed on Norman, and once it was done, very few expected the Saints to realistically make an offer for Norman. The fact that he then was deciding between the Redskins and the Saints (obviously ultimately landing in D.C.) was nice, exciting drama for Saints fans, but no one honestly expected the Saints to land him at any point prior to that announcement. To say the Saints "failed" in that regard just seems to be piling unnecessary criticism on the Saints offseason.