The New Orleans Saints are primed to contend again in 2022. They had an aggressive free agency, first pursuing Deshaun Watson and ultimately re-signing Jameis Winston, before adding players like WR Jarvis Landry and S Marcus Maye while also trading up in the 2022 NFL Draft to grab WR Chris Olave and OT Trevor Penning.
That isn’t to say the team is perfect and there aren’t ways to continue to improve. ESPN recently named the best fits for the top 10 remaining free agents (Insider required), and the New Orleans Saints could easily be a fit for a few names on the list.
First and foremost, the top free agent on ESPN’s board, Ndamukong Suh, has New Orleans as the best fit for the veteran defensive tackle:
1. Ndamukong Suh, DT
Best fit: New Orleans Saints
I originally considered matching the veteran defensive tackle back with the Buccaneers, but with Tampa Bay signing Akiem Hicks, we should expect Suh to land with another contender during camp. Suh had six sacks in 2021 and put some good tape out there in the postseason.
I really like the idea of Suh playing in Dennis Allen’s defense. Even in a rotational role, Suh can still create disruption, command two in protection and get home to the quarterback in schemed fronts. He’d be effective in New Orleans with interior stunts and loops that create A-gap pressure and eliminate the quarterback’s ability to climb the pocket. And you need that when you see Tom Brady twice a season.
It’s hard to fault the logic there considering the interior of the Saints defensive line was one of the defense’s lone weaknesses in 2021. If not Suh, another free agent who didn’t make ESPN’s top 10 list, Sheldon Richardson, could also make a ton of sense for New Orleans.
Going down ESPN’s list, the #2 free agent on ESPN’s board also fits for the Saints - WR Odell Beckham, Jr. ESPN predicts the former LSU star ends up back with the Los Angeles Rams, but the fit for the Saints also makes as much sense as the Rams. Sure, the Saints already have Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, and Chris Olave, but the Rams already have Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson. Beckham would be a luxury for either team, but hopefully a return to New Orleans to team with former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry could be enough to tip the scale in the Saints’ favor.
Speaking of wide receivers, the #5 player on ESPN’s list could also be a fit for New Orleans, but the odds of it happening are probably next to none. Former Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones is on the backside of his career and a shell of the player he once was, which is why ESPN predicts Julio will pair with his former quarterback Matt Ryan in Indianapolis.
Former Saints WR Joe Horn signed with the Atlanta Falcons at the end of his career. Why couldn’t Julio Jones sign with the Saints? While the Saints have decent depth at wide receiver, the Saints lack the same firepower at tight end. A step slower but still a big-bodied receiver, Julio Jones might not play an official tight end on the Saints roster, but he could very easily fill that same type of role as a receiving option.