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CSC Mailbag: What should the Saints do at running back?

That and more discussed in this week’s mailbag.

NFL: JAN 09 Saints at Falcons Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 NFL season is only just barely in the rearview mirror, but the New Orleans Saints are getting ready for the fast-approaching start to 2022 free agency. With that in mind, there are plenty of questions about what the Saints will do and look like in the 2022 season. There might be more questions than answers right now, so we took a few of your pressing questions off Twitter in this week’s CSC Mailbag:

CSC’s Jalen Dogan broke down the top receivers in this year’s draft class, headlined by Alabama wideout Jameson Williams. If he’s there when the Saints are on the clock with the 18th pick, he would be an absolute steal considering if he was fully healthy he would be a consensus top-10 pick. If Williams is gone, the Saints have a history of success drafting players out of Ohio State, and Chris Olave makes a lot of sense. Michael Thomas, the last Buckeye wide receiver the Saints drafted, didn’t work out too badly.

I was originally on the Tony Jones, Jr. hype train in the preseason last year, but the shine wore off quickly. I think it would be smart for the Saints to draft a mid-round running back and/or address the position in free agency. A suspension for Alvin Kamara seems inevitable, and Mark Ingram is in the back half of his career. Having fresh legs at the position would probably be wise.

I’m grouping these two questions together because they’re kind of asking the same thing.

I broke this down recently and went over all of the players the Saints could restructure to find additional salary cap space. The most obvious players remaining right now are David Onyemata, Alvin Kamara, and Marshon Lattimore. Restructuring that trio gets the team an additional $18 million in cap savings. An outright release of CB Bradley Roby seems likely considering it would include no dead cap hit, and that frees up an extra $9 million. If the Saints could extend Marcus Davenport, that could save an additional $8 million, but all of these moves combined only get the team ~$35 million of the $40 million they need to get under the cap.

Ideally the team wouldn’t have to restructure contracts like Demario Davis, Malcolm Jenkins, or Cam Jordan considering their respective ages, but Demario and Cam seem like moves the team will have to make. Malcolm Jenkins turns 35 this year and the team probably prefers to not pay him into ages 37 and beyond. Cam Jordan’s second half last season might give the team reason to think there are at least a few more productive seasons left in the soon-to-be 33-year-old’s tank, so a restructure there could be coming soon.

It’s anyone’s guess right now if Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers actually become available for trade this offseason. The Saints have more holes on the roster than resources to fill them, and trading any top draft picks and/or high-end players to grab a quarterback would only worsen the problem. Signing a player like Jameis Winston or Teddy Bridgewater makes the most sense for this team as it’s currently built. Otherwise - or maybe even in addition - the Saints would likely try to address the quarterback position in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Signing a player like Jameis gives the Saints the opportunity to use that first round pick elsewhere on the team - like for a player like Jameson Williams or Chris Olave discussed above.

Free agency begins March 16th. Let’s hope a signing is announced that same day.