The New Orleans Saints need help at wide receiver. That is far from breaking news. New Orleans was unable or unwilling to add receivers thus far in free agency, with big names like Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Robert Woods, and others finding new homes via trade. Free agency had players like Allen Robinson, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Juju Smith-Schuster all signing big contracts with new teams.
All eyes are on the 2022 NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints to add a key contributor to the wide receiver room to pair with Michael Thomas, but maybe there are other options. Bleacher Report suggests the New Orleans Saints should make a trade for Seattle Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf.
After Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill were traded and landed top-of-the-market deals, the trickle-down effect was massive for other young receiving stars. Stefon Diggs quickly signed a four-year, $96 million extension with the Bills. Then speculation became louder about the futures of Deebo Samuel and DK Metcalf.
Metcalf is particularly interesting heading into the final year of his deal. The 6’4”, 235-pound receiver is the most gifted in the league based on stature alone, and the 24-year-old has posted impressive production to go with his physique, having put up 216 catches, 3,170 yards and 29 scores in three seasons. However, his place with the Seahawks is questionable after star QB Russell Wilson’s departure.
Will the Seahawks extend him for $25 million per year if his stats regress with Drew Lock or Baker Mayfield throwing to him? Metcalf might not even be interested in continuing with a franchise staring down a rebuild, especially if Pete Carroll decides to retire as he turns 71 this fall. Trading Metcalf now would be the best way to maximize their return for the star.
New Orleans, after acquiring a second first-round pick from the Eagles, is a perfect landing spot for Metcalf. The Saints need another proven pass-catcher to pair with Michael Thomas, given the uncertainty his injuries over the past two years have created.
Their continued wizardry with the cap eases any long-term concern of their ability to structure a deal that works for both parties. The NFC appears as open as ever after so much talent shifted to the AFC this offseason. New Orleans could be a force if QB Jameis Winston stays healthy and it adds Metcalf.
The fit between the two teams alone makes sense. New Orleans needs a wide receiver and has an extra first round pick after their recent trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Seahawks are in a rebuild after trading QB Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos and could use the extra draft capital to quicken the rebuild.
Bleacher Report has the potential trade looking like this:
Deal: Saints get WR DK Metcalf; Seahawks get 19th pick, 120th pick, 2023 second-round pick
The problem isn’t necessarily with the terms of the deal or the possibility of the two teams matching up. The issue is what D.K. Metcalf would demand in an extension before agreeing to hit the field in 2022. The Saints could obviously use the “Mickey Loomis Magic” to give D.K. all of the money in the world spread out over numerous years, but for a team already paying Michael Thomas over $69 million dollars over the next three seasons, it might be tough to make D.K. the highest-paid receiver in the league.
In addition to giving up a first round pick (and a second round pick next year after already not having a 2023 first round pick), the Saints would be immediately committing $25+ million per year for the foreseeable future on the books.
Another option could be to trade for the Seahawks’ other talented receiver - Tyler Lockett.
Lockett is already under contract through the 2025 season and “only” counts $10 million against the cap in 2022, meaning the Saints could immediately absorb Lockett’s 2022 cap number without having to restructure any part of Lockett’s contract.
While Lockett is five years older than Metcalf, he’s only a few months older than Saints receiver Michael Thomas, and the two would immediately become one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. Instead of having to part with one of their first round picks, the Saints might be able to pry away Tyler Lockett using their second round pick, 49th overall, as the centerpiece of any deal.
Such a move would give the Saints the additional firepower they need at wide receiver while still allowing the team to address other holes with the 16th and 19th picks in this year’s draft. The Saints could still obviously pick another receiver with one of those picks, but they would no longer be forcing a pick for a receiver in the first and instead would simply be allowing the board to fall as it may to their benefit.