With the New Orleans Saints season now over it’s time to look toward the future and decipher which moves to make and not make for the team to be contenders again. The Saints have about 18 free agents both restricted and unrestricted heading into this offseason. The team is currently about $60 million over the cap, but the Saints have a certain cap wizardry with the numbers that help them manage just fine every year. Ross Jackson here at CSC wrote an amazing article about how the offseason focus needs to be on retaining key members of the current roster first. They should do just that, but here are a few players they may want to avoid re-signing.
LT Terron Armstead
This take may divide Saints fans as Armstead is a top echelon player at his position when he is healthy... when he is healthy. The old adage goes your best ability is your availability. Since Armstead has come into the league in 2013, he has yet to play a full season, averaging around 5 games a year missed. Would the Saints invest a fortune into a soon to be 31-year-old tackle with an extensive injury history? There is precedent in the league for such a scenario when you look at what San Francisco gave Trent Williams last offseason. Williams ended up missing the entire 2019 season due to a cancerous lump that had developed on his head. He was unhappy with the way the Washington medical staff handled his situation and was subsequently traded to the 49ers. Now the 33-year-old tackle is flourishing as one of the game's best. Armstead is definitely in the same breath at his position and the numbers prove it. Among Saints offensive line starters this season Armstead gave up the second fewest offensive line pressures per play only behind Eric McCoy. Armstead allowed a pressure approximately every 21.9 plays. The issue is he only played in only 263 snaps while McCoy played in 433. His replacement, James Hurst played in 516 snaps and his pressures per play was at every 19.1 plays. Hurst is also under contract for 2 more years so could the Saints roll the dice with him while drafting a young tackle to develop for down the road? Letting Armstead walk would leave some dead money on the table, but isn’t the same true if you sign him to a new deal and he is on the sideline with injury? Hurst can be the short-term solution while you roll the dice on a long-term option. With 4 of the 5 starters from last year back with Hurst in the fold could still prove to be a very formidable offensive line.
WR Tre’Quan Smith
Smith has never developed into the guy Saints fans thought and wanted him to be. After a very respectable rookie and sophomore seasons where Smith taught 5 touchdowns in both years, he has never taken that next step. Mostly due to injury and inefficiency has seen Smith often fall completely out the lineup. In 2021 he had a career low in games started, yards per receptions, and touchdown catches. As most know with the Saints decimated at so many positions and needing the wide receiver group to step up and make plays, Tre’Quan was not the guy to do this season. With All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas expected to be back healthy next season, speedy playmaker Deonte Harty expected to be re-signed, and Marquez Callaway making a jump this past season, I see the Saints looking at the earlier rounds of the draft or through free agency to add an outside playmaker. That would leave Tre-Quan as an odd man out and looking elsewhere to play next year. The Saints need to be more explosive at the wide receiver position and the former 3rd round pick has not proven to be that in his career for the Saints.
RB Ty Montgomery
This one is lower on the totem pole of shockers, but I can easily see the Saints parting ways with Montgomery. As a Swiss army knife type of player, he can be put at a few positions but didn’t really excel the way the Saints hoped in any of them. In his 2 seasons with the Saints, he appeared in 20 games not including any games just solely dedicated to special teams and he failed to score a touchdown in any of them. When he had a chance to be primarily featured in the Dallas and Buffalo games due to injuries to the starters, he had a grand total 75 yards for both games rushing and receiving. This could be another spot where the Saints look to add a playmaker later on in the draft to complement Kamara and have another viable option on offense if Alvin is not on the field. Montgomery recently turned 29 and was on a modest $1.1 million salary so moving on makes total sense from the Saints perspective.
These are a few players that I think the Saints should move on from. Do you agree? Sound off in the comment section below and make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.