It’s the offseason, and teams across the NFL are going to start making moves to improve their teams or put themselves in better positions regarding cap space to make moves during free agency. As such, Bleacher Report has come out with “The Ideal Offseason Trade Scenario for Every NFL Team,” and boy were the New Orleans Saints busy.
For starters, keep in mind that BR didn’t actually post details of hypothetical trades, rather they just named players that each team should acquire via trade from another team. For the New Orleans, the player suggested was none other than Green Bay Packers veteran WR Jordy Nelson.
The New Orleans Saints’ Michael Thomas is an unbelievable talent. The 2016 second-round pick became the first player in NFL history to record 200 receptions in his first two seasons.
But the Saints could use more help at wide receiver since the organization appears to be all-in toward a Super Bowl run once it re-signs 39-year-old quarterback Drew Brees. An 11-5 campaign and postseason berth tend to inject hope into a franchise, especially after three straight 7-9 performances. Thus, making a play for a soon-to-be 33-year-old receiver isn’t out of the question.
The Green Bay Packers will likely decide between retaining Nelson or Randall Cobb. Both may be available for the right price since Davante Adams is now the team’s top target. Nelson also has a $12.5 million salary-cap hit in 2018.
Nelson is coming off one of his worst seasons, with 53 receptions for 482 yards and a career-low 9.1 yards per catch. Of course, Aaron Rodgers’ injury played a role, but the receiver is now firmly on the downside of his career.
A new situation with more opportunities, like he’ll receive in New Orleans alongside Thomas, may be enough to re-energize Nelson’s career.
Bleacher Report just glosses over Nelson’s hefty cap hit for 2018, and it would obviously be a hinderance (to say the least), but the idea of Jordy on the Saints is an intriguing one. He would address one of the Saints biggest needs on offseason as a trusted “possession” receiver for Drew to target on short and intermediate throws on crucial third downs.
But Jordy wasn’t the only name involved with Saints trades in the piece. It was also suggested that CB Delvin Breaux be traded from New Orleans to the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears have their hands full trying to address their cornerback rotation this offseason. Starters Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara are set to enter free agency, with Fuller counted among the top available targets at a premium position.
Durability concerns are a good reason to move on from the 28-year-old since Ken Crawley emerged in his absence. Interested teams may be concerned about Breaux’s health, but he’s been cleared for all activities, according to the New Orleans Advocate’s Joel A. Erickson.
This wouldn’t actually be a huge shock if it were to happen, especially if any team (whether Chicago or otherwise) would be willing to trade anything of value to the Saints in exchange for the rights to Delvin Breaux. With rookie phenom Marshon Lattimore and the improving Ken Crawley as the primary Cornerbacks in New Orleans, Breaux could find himself out of playing time in New Orleans.
The third and final move that involves the Saints is actually the least likely to me, and that would be for New Orleans to trade RT Zach Strief to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Indianapolis Colts are searching for a veteran presence to stabilize an underperforming offensive line. Currently, left tackle Anthony Castonzo and center Ryan Kelly are the only two on the roster guaranteed a starting spot.
Strief is an exceptional pass-blocker and rarely makes a mistake. He’s exactly the type of veteran voice and consistent performer needed to protect Andrew Luck (or Jacoby Brissett) and shouldn’t cost more than a late-round draft pick.
The NFL’s demand for competent offensive linemen exceeds available options. Strief still has a good year or two in him before retirement becomes a serious choice.
It’s hard for me to imagine Strief playing for any other team in the NFL at this point in his career. Strief is currently under contract for the Saints in 2018 with a 3.875M cap hit. That would mean the only way Strief would play for someone other than New Orleans in 2018 would be if he were released or traded.
Strief is now one of only three remaining players on the Saints from the 2009 Super Bowl team (along with Thomas Morstead and Drew Brees). His veteran experience and locker room presence are crucial to a team filled with rookies and young players. Strief deserves to retire a member of the New Orleans Saints, but he would likely be a reserve piece for the Saints next year behind 2017 rookie Ryan Ramczyk.
So if Strief were to approach the Saints and ask for a trade where he could play starter’s snaps elsewhere, the Saints would owe him the opportunity to find more playing time to finish up his career. It would just be sad to see him go.