There are still plenty of ways for the New Orleans Saints to improve their situation.
Maybe the team signs a veteran defensive tackle, tight end, or running back to help add depth to the roster. Maybe they extend a player already under contract to a long-term deal to keep that player tied to New Orleans longer. Maybe they even improve the team by cutting bait with a player who is wasting a roster spot on the team’s active roster.
Zack Baun was a former third round pick in 2020, but he has yet to earn a starting role on the New Orleans Saints after his first two years in the league. That is why Bleacher Report suggests trading away Baun is one move the Saints should do before the season starts:
Zack Baun doesn’t seem like a clean fit with the New Orleans Saints.
Baun broke out as an edge-rusher during his final year at Wisconsin, logging 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss, but the Saints have utilized him as an off-ball linebacker. The 25-year-old has played on the strong side and weak side but has made little impact at both positions.
Through two seasons, Baun has recorded 42 tackles (29 solo) and only one for loss in 32 games (seven starts). Pete Werner, a 2021 second-rounder, has already surpassed him on the depth chart.
The Saints may not want to give up on a third-rounder from only two years ago, especially one with pass-rushing ability, but they have tried to put a square peg in a round hole with Baun’s fit in the defense.
New head coach Dennis Allen, who served as the Saints’ full-time defensive coordinator since 2016 before being promoted to replace Sean Payton, should end this failed experiment and move on. At 6’3” and 225 pounds, Baun doesn’t have the size and strength to rush off the edge in an even-man front.
Perhaps a team that uses an odd-man front can employ Baun as a designated pass-rushing outside linebacker.
It’s hard to fault the logic too much, but “trade away player X” is far easier said than done. There obviously has to be an interested team for Baun that would be willing to pay any sort of premium for a player who could easily be signed off the street if the Saints release him before Week 1.
But then, even if you find an interested team, what would they pay? A mid-draft pick seems like the highest price the Saints could reasonably expect, but maybe a change of scenario option for two different teams and players would be doable. It’s not often such a trade occurs in the NFL outside of Madden franchise mode, but if two teams recognize a lack of fit with players on their roster, maybe each could see an opportunity in the other.
If the Saints were to attempt to trade away Baun, adding another wide receiver seems like an easy solution. There are multiple teams in the NFL who have players like Baun who were expected to be contributors who have yet to find sustained success with the team that drafted them. Laviska Shenault, Jr. of the Jacksonville Jaguars could be a candidate after Jacksonville recently added Zay Jones and Christian Kirk to their wide receiver room. Shenault was a 2nd round pick in the same draft as Baun when Baun went in the third round, so it might take adding a future late round pick to convince both teams to take the deal, but if both sides would be willing, the fit seems obvious.