As if the humiliation of losing to the Seattle Seahawks (which I called, by the way) wasn’t enough for the Saints, they’re now getting punched in the stomach with the realization that 28 of their players will be unrestricted free agents. These players aren’t all third-string linemen, either.
Because I don’t want to, this nice fellow named James Varney will list them out for you:
Injuries aside, the New Orleans Saints’ roster is liable to look much different in 2011. The exact nature of the upcoming free agency market remains unknown because the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union will end the first week of March.
But by the rules that existed under the old arrangement, the Saints would have a whopping 28 players as unrestricted free agents. Those with six or more years in the league are running backs Ladell Betts and Julius Jones, fullback Heath Evans, center Jonathan Goodwin, safeties Darren Sharper, Pierson Prioleau and Matt Giordano, linebacker Scott Shanle, Kawika Mitchell and Danny Clark; defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove and Jimmy Wilkerson and long snapper Jason Kyle.
The following players have five years experience: safety Roman Harper, cornerback Leigh Torrence, wide receiver Lance Moore, wide receiver/kickoff returner Courtney Roby, tight end David Thomas and offensive tackle Zach Strief.
Running backs Thomas and Wynn, offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod, tight end Tory Humphrey, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele, defensive end Jeff Charletson, linebacker Marvin Mitchell, and safeties Usama Young and Chris Reis all have four years experience.
And then four more players with three years experience would be restricted free agents under the old CBA. They are guard Carl Nicks, kicker Garrett Hartley, linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar and linebacker Anthony Waters.
Some other Saints, most notably Bush and tight end Jeremy Shockey, have one expensive year remaining on their contracts, which the franchise would presumably seek to renegotiate. Quarterback Drew Brees also has just one year remaining, which means the team will have to hammer out a new deal with one of the league’s marquee players.
Regardless of how much cap room the Saints have, can you just try to imagine figuring out contracts for 28 players. Granted, they’re not going to re-sign everyone, but if they want to keep being a good team, they’ll need some of their solid players like Goodwin and Evans back. Their offensive line was decent, and now three of their starters on it need new contracts.
Seriously, apparently the Saints managed their players’ contracts like I do in Madden when I don’t want to do offseason stuff. Sure, Danny Woodhead, I’ll give you $5 million over two years even though you’ll play for the league minimum. I just kept pressing up on the controller until it looked like a nice number.