New mock drafts are released every day, with each mock drafter and each mock draft containing a different vision of what’s “right” for the Saints’ future. I could go on about what my “dream offseason” entails from this point out, but it would probably be pointless.
rosterbation - noun, the act of fantasizing over what it takes to make a dream roster for your favorite team that accomplishes nothing but short-term pleasure and long-term disappointment when fantasies never come to fruition
So the Saints are going to do what the Saints are going to do. Mickey Loomis and Company will have their hearts set on a future for the Saints moving forward and have envisioned all of the necessary steps to get to that point. I can lay out step-by-step what my preferred course of action would be for the Saints for the rest of the offseason, but it won’t make a difference.
Even still, consider this my perfect offseason beginning March 20th.
While the Saints and Patriots are still reported to be discussing the terms of a Malcolm Butler trade, there are some among us who would prefer this not happen. I, for one, would love to see the Saints pull this trade off, but not for the new rumored cost.
I was afraid the Patriots might take this stance, but there is a way for the Saints to get Butler without parting with the 11th (or even the 32nd) overall pick. It would involve the Saints front-loading an Offer Sheet to Malcolm Butler right before the 2017 NFL Draft. If the Patriots are unable (or even simply unwilling) to match the Offer Sheet, the Saints will part with a 2018 first round pick instead of a 2017 first. The Saints can have every intention of immediately restructuring Butler’s contract upon signing, but front-loading the terms could help dissuade New England from matching.
So, the first step in my dream offseason is to sign Malcolm Butler on a multi-year deal at the cost of a 2018 first round pick. That means the Saints can afford to pass on a Cornerback in an early round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Saints don’t have that same luxury with a pass rusher. With the 11th overall pick, the Saints should take the best pass rusher on the board. There are many potential names thrown around who could be available at 11, but let’s roll with Tennessee’s Defensive End Derek Barnett.
The Saints will still have the 32nd overall pick from the Patriots, so in my scenario, the Saints would package the 32nd overall pick along with the Pats’ third round pick to move back up to the 22-26 range and grab Alabama LB Reuben Foster.
I don’t see the Saints going any longer without addressing the offense, so let’s address that here. On to the second round, with the tenth pick in the second round, I’d love to see the Saints go after a skills player, and I’m torn between a pass-catching Running Back or a big-bodied Tight End. With the Saints (for better or worse) bringing back Travaris Cadet, let’s go with Ole Miss’s TE Evan Engram in the second.
While we’re at it, let’s go back-to-back offensive picks with the twelfth pick in the third round - how about a Wide Receiver? The Saints can go with a local Louisiana product in LA Tech’s Carlos Henderson. Henderson helps replace the skill set lost from the WR Brandin Cooks trade and - more importantly - relegates newly signed WR Ted Ginn Jr. to mostly special teams work.
As I wouldn’t bank on the Saints getting any 2017 starters beyond the 5th round, let’s talk free agents, and I’ll be brief with only a few names:
The Saints can re-sign CB Sterling Moore as a nickel corner. Bring back Jairus Byrd (or sign former Tampa Bay Buc Bradley McDougald) to address Free Safety. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and do the smart thing and bring back QB Chase Daniel.
Unfortunately, those signings and the Butler deal probably mean we cut Dannell Ellerbe and restructure the contract of P Thomas Morstead.
And that’s it! That’s my ideal offseason starting today. Want to see the finished product?
OLine: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Max Unger, Larry Warford, Zach Strief (Senio Kelemente)
RB: Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet (Daniel Lasco)
TE: Coby Fleener, Evan Engram (Josh Hill)
WR: Michael Thomas, Willie Snead, Carlos Henderson, Ted Ginn Jr., (Brandon Coleman)
QB: Drew Brees (Chase Daniel)
DLine: Derek Barnett, Nick Fairley, Sheldon Rankins, Cam Jordan (Alex Okafor, David Onyemata)
LB: AJ Klein, Rueben Foster, Craig Robertson (Stephone Anthony, Nate Stupar)
CB: Malcolm Butler, Delvin Breaux (Sterling Moore, PJ Williams, Ken Crawley)
S: Kenny Vaccaro, Jairus Byrd (Vonn Bell)