Things were quiet for the New Orleans Saints on the legal tampering front, with the only news being their loss of backup quarterback Chase Daniel to the Chicago Bears and reserve safety Rafael Bush to the Buffalo Bills. They also extended Drew Brees’ contract and modified some of its conditions into a more team-friendly situation. But everything changed when the NFL’s new fiscal year started yesterday afternoon, with the Saints announcing several moves:
- New Orleans brought one of its wayward former first round picks home, securing slot cornerback Patrick Robinson from the Philadelphia Eagles for four years, $20-million.
Grade: B. Robinson was borderline elite last year as Philly’s starting slot corner, and should continue to excel in that role moving forward. However it was the best year of his career, and you have to wonder how much he benefited from the highly-disruptive Eagles pass rush.
- New York Jets beat writers were in uproar over middle linebacker Demario Davis getting signed away by New Orleans for a three year, $24-million contract.
Grade: B. Davis is without doubt an above-average middle linebacker, and his presence does a lot to help push pedestrian players like Craig Robertson out of the starting rotation. But how much will the Saints get out of him at age 29?
- Taysom Hill will have to prove he’s more than a special teams ace by defeating former Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage for the backup job, who signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal.
Grade: D. Savage has only played poorly and gotten concussed in his career, and I don’t have much hope that he’s more than a warm body for training camp. Hopefully Hill can displace him.
- Don’t forget about safety Kurt Coleman, who was signed to a three-year, $16.35-million contract after the Carolina Panthers released him.
Grade: B. Coleman is experienced, can play both free and strong safety, and is a much more-disciplined talent than the guy he’s replacing, Kenny Vaccaro. But age and injuries (he sprained his MCL last year) are a concern.
That’s not the say the Saints have been flawless: versatile sixth offensive lineman Senio Kelemete was poached by the Houston Texans, despite a competitive offer from New Orleans against Houston’s three-year, $12-million offer. The opportunity to start was too good for Kelemete to pass up.
On the whole I’m feeling good about this free agent haul. Adding a slot receiver like Jordan Matthews or torching all our carefully-laid plans to get Ndamukong Suh and/or Tyrann Mathieu would make me feel better. For now, my grade is an overall B.
How do you grade the Saints’ free agent signings so far?
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