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Upcoming NFC Free Agents to Watch in the NFL Playoffs

Players at the end of their contract that could fit into some of the Saints needed positions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
O.J. Howard could fill a need immediately for the Saints offense
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are sitting at home, watching the NFL Playoffs like the rest of us. During this time, it might be helpful to see some of the players the Saints could target at the end of the season. There are just eight teams left in this year’s playoffs, but there are plenty of players that will likely be moving teams next year. The Saints have needs at multiple positions going into this off-season. The most important of these are quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, defensive, and offensive linemen. The Saints have never been shy about signing free agents, and that will likely continue this year. These are some NFC players that the Saints front office could target following the end of the NFL season.

NFC Players to Watch in the NFL Playoffs

Getting some help in the trenches will need to be a priority for the Saints on both sides of the ball. On the defensive side, the Saints have talent at the top end but need depth for the constant battering in games. William Gholston will be one of their bigger names that the Saints could benefit from signing. Gholston has played his entire career for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but might be ready for a change after this year. Tyler Lancaster from the Green Bay Packers will be looking for a contract as well. Lancaster is a rotational guy who can eat up blocks in the middle of the line or on the edge. The San Francisco 49ers could potentially lose several defensive linemen. D.J Jones, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, and Jordan Willis will all hit free agency after this year. Jones was a sixth-round pick but has started 46 games in his five-year career. The other three are rotational, journeymen-type players but the Saints do need this kind of players to fill in when called upon.

Poll

What is the biggest position of need this off-season?

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Quarterback
    (141 votes)
  • 3%
    Tight End
    (13 votes)
  • 44%
    Wide Receiver
    (149 votes)
  • 0%
    Defensive Lineman
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Offensive Lineman
    (27 votes)
332 votes total Vote Now

For the offensive linemen, the Saints could use some depth as well as tackles. Terron Armstead could be going into free agency, which would weaken the offense. Several of the current Saints players could rotate. Signing any player should help the line. Center Ryan Jensen is a free agent from the Buccaneers. Jensen has been a perennial starter in the league and will bolster any team that signs him. Likewise, Laken Tomlinson from the 49ers will immediately add value to any team. Tomlinson has started 104 games at guard over this seven-year career. The Los Angeles Rams will have to try and re-sign Austin Corbett. Corbett has started 33 games for the Rams the past two seasons. Corbett is a flexible player who can fill in multiple positions. Sean Payton gets the most out of players like Corbett and he would be an immediate value to the Saints offense. Tackle is going to be a shallow position this off-season, which is likely why Armstead is wanting to test the market value. Dennis Kelly from the Packers will likely be available. Kelly is a nine-year veteran who has mostly played right tackle in his career. For a shallow class, Kelly could be on the Saints radar.

One of the biggest disappointments this season was the Saints tight end unit. Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson were simply not able to step up when called upon. That will leave the Saints likely in the market for a pass-catching tight end. There will be three viable tight ends available at the end of this year from the NFC. O.J. Howard is buried on a deep tight end roster with the Buccaneers and will likely be on another team next season. The 49ers could also be losing Ross Dwelley. Dwelley has never caught over 20 passes in any year, but he has sat behind one of the best tight ends in the league in George Kittle. Dwelley might just need an opportunity and he would get that with the Saints. Even though he will not be playing today due to injury, Robert Tonyan from the Packers will be a name to keep an eye on this off-season. Tonyan is an all-around tight end who Sean Payton would put into positions to succeed.


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