We’ve already done one where I tried to stay fairly reasonable, but let’s do another full mock offseason, and this time, let’s shake things up a bit...
We’ll start with a consistent piece in any mock offseason for the Saints first: releasing CB Patrick Robinson to free up $3.6 million. The Saints also restructure Drew’s deal, tacking on two void years to 2020, freeing up $5 million in cap space in 2020. Similar to the conservative mock, the Saints also release but re-sign Janoris Jenkins, reducing his 2020 cap hit by $5 million.
This time the Saints restructure and extend DT Sheldon Rankins, tacking on additional two years onto his current deal, for a three-year, $16 million dollar deal, freeing up another $2 million in cap space in 2020.
This time, the Saints opt to bring back Kiko Alonso on a one year prove-it deal, freeing up $4 million in 2020 cap space.
The Saints also extend and restructure Larry Warford’s contact, as Warford was also expected to hit free agency after the 2020 season. The Saints extend Warford on a three-year, $38 million dollar contract, reducing Warford’s 2020 cap hit by $3 million.
The Saints release another pair of Saints in Craig Robertson ($1.9 million) and Nick Easton (3.8 million) to free up another $5.7 million.
After all these moves are said and done, the Saints have $37.7 million in cap space in 2020 to play with. Now on to free agency.
The Saints let Andrus Peat, Ted Ginn Jr, AJ Klein, Teddy Bridgewater, Vonn Bell, and Eli Apple walk in free agency. The Saints bring back David Onyemata on a three-year, $15 million dollar deal, counting $5 million against the cap in 2020. The Saints also stick a first round tender on Taysom Hill, and the Oakland Raiders opt to pay the first round pick to bring Taysom to New Orleans to work with Jon Gruden, giving the Saints the 12th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Coming into this mock offseason, the Saints need a cornerback to replace Eli Apple, a left guard to replace Andrus Peat, a wide receiver (or two) to put next to Michael Thomas, a tight end to replace the snaps at the position lost from Taysom Hill, and a potential quarterback of the future. In this mock, CJ Gardner-Johnson replaces Vonn Bell and Alex Azalone comes in as another linebacker.
To replace Apple, the Saints trade the 24th overall pick to the Detroit Lions for Darius Slay and the 67th overall pick. The Saints extend and restructure Slay, keeping him under contract through 2023, with an $7.7 million dollar cap hit in 2020. With Taysom signing in Oakland and the Saints trade for Slay, the Saints move up 12 spots in the 2020 NFL Draft, add the 67th overall pick, improve the cornerback position from Eli Apple to Darius Slay, and still have $25 million in cap space.
At left guard, the Saints will still sign Joe Thuney to a four-year, $40 million dollar deal like in the conservative mock offseason, improving the guard position, and now leaving the Saints will $15 million in cap space.
We still need a wide receiver, a tight end, and a quarterback of the future, but the Saints still have plenty of cap space plus solid draft picks.
At wide receiver, the Saints sign WR Randall Cobb and old pal QB Chase Daniel on identical, two-year, $10 million dollar contracts, each with a $5 million dollar cap hit in 2020. Down to $5 million, but we’ve at least addressed wide receiver and quarterback now.
Cobb is an above-average slot receiver, even at this point in his career, but can also line up wide. It would be in the slot where he could especially shine in New Orleans, giving the Saints a consistent presence there for the first time since Willie Snead.
Without going into details, let’s say the Saints do a small restructure on either the contracts of Will Lutz and/or Michael Thomas to free up just enough 2020 cap space to sign their draft picks.
With the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Saints select WR Jerry Jeudy out of Alabama, to give the Saints another elite wide receiver option.
Jeudy should need no introduction for any casual college football fans, as he’s one of the best college wide receivers in the country, whose game film resembles Michael Thomas’s.
Jerry Jeudy does all the little things right:— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 7, 2020
- Two-step hesitation release to get CB's weight on his inside heel
- Accelerates to get a step on CB
- Looks back for the ball once he gets a step on CB
- Hands fire out late, CB can't play the catch point pic.twitter.com/TCclAYECoh
With the 67th overall pick, the Saints select guard Solomon Kindley out of Georgia, to replace the backup lineman lost after cutting Nick Easton. Then with the 88th overall pick, the Saints select TE Thaddeus Moss out of LSU, son of Hall of Fame WR Randy Moss, giving the Saints a young tight end to pair with the veteran Jared Cook and the oft-injured Josh Hill.
After the Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, they no longer have a need for Josh Rosen, so the Saints trade their 2020 fourth round pick to the Dolphins for Rosen, a quarterback with potential the Saints can develop who counts only $2 million against the cap in 2020.
And the Saints still have $3 million in cap space they could use for any additions they need during the season or for a possible extension - Ryan Ramczyk, anyone?
Now the Saints have improved the left guard position from Peat to Thuney. They’ve brought in two capable wide receivers, one with elite upside, to pair with Michael Thomas in Randall Cobb and Jerry Jeudy. They have a high-upside guard as a backup in Solomon Kindley, and a young, local tight end prospect in Thaddeus Moss. The secondary is one of the best in the league with Marshon Lattimore, Janoris Jenkins, and Darius Slay at cornerback. The Saints still have future Hall of Famer Drew Brees at the helm, but there’s a capable and familiar back up in Chase Daniel on the team, plus a QB project for Sean Payton to develop in Josh Rosen.
What do you think of this mock offseason? Would you be happy with it? Do you prefer the more conservative approach? There’s another, even crazier mock offseason coming. Let me know if you’re enjoying these. Tell me in the comments. Send me presents.