The Saints, at this point, are obviously in the market for playmakers.
They were compelled enough to toss their name into the Ndamukong Suh sweepstakes, but originally it was Jimmy Graham who was set to be the jewel of their Free Agency class. Graham wanted to be back, the Saints wanted him back, but they couldn’t agree on monetary compensation...AGAIN.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and all things considered I still applaud Mickey Loomis for drawing a line in the sand with Graham. However, I get the feeling THAT line could have been nudged a bit to accommodate a player they REALLY wanted back.
Rewind back to the 3rd and 1 play the Saints couldn’t convert against the Vikings. If you have a Jimmy Graham in the mix, you likely feel very good about the Drew Brees to Graham connection and make the call. It’s successful, you run the clock down, kick the field goal, and it’s New Orleans facing the Eagles and not Minnesota in the NFC Championship.
Likewise, you could say the same about their most recent crush. On the play that became known as the Minnesota Miracle - If that’s Suh or even Nick Fairley, you get more of an interior pass rush and Cameron Jordan doesn’t have to spin away from a definite sack because the QB had a pocket to step into (see below).
So, without a doubt, the Saints are trying to plug the right holes with the right playmakers in mind - and based on my assessment, you only need one of these guys.
The problem is they are now relying on the enigmatic Suh to be that centerpiece, and before that canceled visit with the Raiders, the percentage that the Saints land Suh was set to decrease. Even Saints fans feel his charade has quickly grown stale and are ready to withdraw the offer (though I don’t think one has been made until he decides where he wants to play).
With Graham, all New Orleans had was Green Bay as competition, and they balked at paying him $10 million ($15 million guaranteed). Graham is still an elite red zone option and has size matchup versus linebackers. He may not be an elite receiving option down field anymore, but he’s still elite at some things. It’s similar to how Suh isn’t 27-year-old Suh anymore, but he can still forklift an offensive guard.
Unlike Suh however, the Saints knew Graham wanted to be here, and also knew the player. Now, they must remain calm and wait for someone they have absolutely no feel for to text them back, hoping their pitch was enough to sway him among all the competition they currently have for his services.
I’m not saying New Orleans is wrong for going after Suh, as he’s a fit and signifies a major upgrade, but if they miss out on signing him and adding in not getting Graham — it could end up being a major folly in their offseason plan.
Who would you have preferred?
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