7/ Pierre Thomas (unrestricted free agent under old CBA)
I think we all saw this season just how much PT means to the offense. He’s the best blitz blocker, the best screen-pass runner and one of the two toughest running backs on the team.
He missed 11 of 17 games the Saints played this season and still ended up as the second-leading rusher with 269 yards and two touchdowns on 83 carries. Additionally, he caught 29 passes for 201 yards.
But while Chris Ivory proved that he can run hard and forward, he couldn’t catch passes out of the backfield and couldn’t be relied upon to pick up blitzes. And those are things Thomas excelled at is one of the reasons the Saints offense wasn’t itself for much of the year.
Thomas and the Saints had a contract dispute prior to the season and head coach Sean Payton was rumored to be unhappy with the length of time it took the running back to return from his ankle injury.
Fans would agree, though, that losing Thomas for good would be a bad thing for New Orleans.