The New Orleans Saints have signed six new free agents through the first part of the 2019 free agency period: Latavius Murray, Malcom Brown, Mario Edwards, Nick Easton, Marcus Sherels, and Jared Cook. The Saints have also re-signed players: Craig Robertson, Chris Banjo, and Teddy Bridgewater.
When Bleacher Report named the worst free agent signing of each team, there weren’t a whole lot of options for the Saints. Who did they pick then? DT Malcom Brown.
Terms: Three years, $15 million ($7.5 million guaranteed)
Running back Latavius Murray somehow landed another lucrative free-agent contract despite being a 29-year-old who plays a position with a short shelf life and struggled the last two seasons in Minnesota. However, his four-year, $14.4 million contract only has $7.2 million in guarantees, which isn’t outrageous.
Instead, let’s call out the three-year, $15 million deal New Orleans gave to defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who failed to live up to expectations as a 2015 first-round pick in New England.
The 25-year-old Brown is a big run-stuffer with upside, and the Saints needed another body up front as Sheldon Rankins recovers from a torn Achilles. But Mario Edwards, who the Oakland Raiders selected three spots after Brown in 2015, looked relatively impressive in a backup role with the New York Giants last year.
Edwards could be better than Brown at this point, and the Saints inked him for less than half the money the day after they signed Brown. That makes the Brown contract look like a mistake, especially since the draft is loaded with stellar defensive linemen.
According to this analysis, it isn’t the signing of Brown as a player that Bleacher Report is critical of. Instead, it’s the terms of the deal. Bleacher Report does not seem to like the fact the Saints are paying Brown $15 million over three years.
That’s a fair analysis, but considering the Saints still have a little over $10 million in cap space to use in free agency, it’s not as bad as when the Saints were completely strapped for cash.