At some point, there won’t be a Drew Brees throwing passes in the Superdome. There won’t be a Sean Payton roaming the sidelines. The New Orleans Saints that brought the Louisiana city back to life after Hurricane Katrina will be a distant memory.
If there is a team in the NFL that you know could do better than their record indicates, it’s this team. Brees is older now, Payton always has his job in question. When Payton goes, so goes Brees and the organization will rebuild.
There are plenty of holes in the team’s roster. No matter how hard general manager Mickey Loomis tries, New Orleans needs more talent everywhere and potentially a new culture in the locker room.
The Saints will look for help on defense first and then pursue help on the offensive line, at the wide receiver position and possibly another running back added to the fold.
Here’s a look at five free agents the New Orleans Saints should pursue.
Zach Brown, Linebacker – Every team in need of a middle linebacker is going to take a swing at Dont’a Hightower, which means the market for the former New England Patriots’ star will go up. Brown, a Pro Bowl player in 2016, offers the team another player who can be just as effective. Since the New Orleans Saints have many needs on defense, his big play ability would be a welcome addition to the roster.
Andre Branch, Edge Rusher – When you come off your best season of your career, hitting free agency might be the best thing for Branch. Like have said in other free agent pieces, I like Branch as an edge rusher/outside linebacker type who can apply pressure from the outside.
Branch was miscast in Jacksonville. If he can accomplish the same things in New Orleans that he did in Miami, the Saints will have gotten a steal.
Larry Warford, Guard – Remember when the Saints had one of the better offensive lines in the NFL? It’s not the worst, but it needs help.
Warford has been solid since coming into the league in 2013 out of Kentucky and would make the Saints ground game better immediately. The Saints may take a swing at other offensive linemen, but Warford would move into the starting five and make an impact.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver – If rumors are true and the Saints do trade Brandin Cooks to Philadelphia or Tennessee, then makes more sense. Patterson is more known for his return abilities than as a pass catcher in the Minnesota Vikings offense. That could change as he could become a solid target for Brees. Patterson made $1 million last season and at 6-foot-2 could be a nice red zone option.
John Simon, Linebacker – The Saints still look to add more bodies to the middle of the defense. Simon, who played in Houston, may be one of the better bargains in the league. His time on the field has been limited. He’s not big enough to be a full-time defensive end, but in sub-packages, he can certainly get into a three-point stance and get after the QB.