One of my favorite times of the off season is upon us, the high stakes – high rollers gambling known as NFL free agency. Airports around the country will be shuttling players looking for their 1st big payday or their last big payday and everything in between.
A lot of parameters have already been set up by most of these players agents, we are in after all what the NFL has dubbed “the legal tampering period ” I have a news flash for you: tampering happens all the time and the NFL looks the other way. Just take a look at the annual NFL combine in Indy every year, coaches, GM’s and player agents from around the league schmooze it up over dinner or while having a few cold ones at their favorite watering holes, off the record feelers are being tossed around.
The more high profile players are setting their price while others are simply gauging their worth and interest among teams.
Players sign with teams for a myriad of different reasons, it could simply be the highest bidder wins out, after all money talks. But there are often other factors that come into play such as the so call “Jock Tax” where certain states hammer players with huge contracts (you can read on this tax HERE and see the map HERE)
It could also come down to the potential team’s chances at winning a Superbowl or the climate or the schools or the crime rate or the coaching staff or how close to home it is or the….you get the picture but of course the biggest factor is money and how much of it will be guaranteed.
Under Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis the Saints really have had a mixed bag when it comes to free agency. You have one of the all time great NFL free agent signings in Drew Brees all the way to the down right awful (Jason Davis & Brandon Browner) to everything in between with a list that includes – Aubrayo Franklin, Jabari Greer, Turk McBride, Keenan Lewis, Curtis Lofton, Randall Gay, Kevin Williams, David Hawthorne, Kevin Kaesviharn, Bobby McCray, Benjamin Watson, Jairus Byrd, Darren Sharper, Ben Grubbs and many, many more.
With a team like the Saints that are trying to build a contender like they once were regularly there are obviously holes on the roster to fill. I’m hoping they show some restraint and don’t over pay a player and just let the process work itself out. But as a fan you just look at the Christmas wish list of players we think could help the team plug those holes and drool just a little.
This wish list includes TE’s Ladarius Green and Scott Chandler, edge defenders Mario Williams and Mike Neal, guards J.R. Sweezy and Alex Boone, WR’s Brandon LaFell, Mohamed Sanu and Mike Wallace, interior defensive linemen Haloti Ngata and Terrance Knighton, DB’s Sean Smith and Brent Grimes.
I could go on and on about the players out there and in the coming days you will hear a lot of names being floated around – It’s a high stakes game of cat and mouse with these players/agents and GM’s around the league. One player may set the bar at his position and a domino effect will ripple throughout the NFL, this is what I mean when I say the Saints should be patient and not let a market overshadow the true value of the player.
Players come and go it’s the nature of the beast, heck while I’m typing this Benjamin Watson is signing with the Baltimore Ravens. It’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes but at the same time the next Jabari Greer or Keenan Lewis may be landing at New Orleans International Airport.
Buckle up and enjoy these next few weeks, I know I will because what happens now will have a direct effect on the upcoming draft and the overall success of the Saints in 2016 and to that I give one big hearty WHO DAT!
Edit: scratch Mario Williams off – he signed a two year deal with Miami