With the season now in the rearview mirror – though some would say not far enough behind with wounds still open – we believe at WWLTV.com it’s time to hit on our yearly “roster check,” our assessment of who should be or should not be with the club come training camp in July.
We don’t think this will help close the wound that the playoff game opened. It might, in fact, open it more and for that we apologize.
For the next few work week days, we’ll go position group by position group (secondary, linebackers, defensive line, offensive line, receivers and specialists, running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks) and give our opinions on the players and situations.
Receivers and Specialists:
Receiver: Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Adrian Arrington, Courtney Roby
Specialists: Thomas Morstead, John Kasay, Justin Drescher, Garrett Hartley
Colston: The biggest question in the receiver group, and indeed in all of the skill positions, is what happens with Colston. He’s due for a big raise and contract and will certainly get looked at by other teams. But if the Saints can come to an agreement with Brees prior to free agency, Colston might be available for the franchise tag (which also could go to LG Carl Nicks). Despite not playing in two games with a broken collarbone, Colston still finished with 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s one Brees’ favorite targets and big, reliable receivers aren’t exactly found every day. There’s a reason his services will make him a hot commodity. In the end, what Brees wants, Brees gets and we think Brees will want Colston to return at any cost so he returns.
Moore: Not much to discuss with this one. Moore signed a five-year contract worth $20 million before 2011. He earned it. He played in 14 games, caught eight touchdowns and the Saints missed him dearly in the San Francisco loss. He’ll be back.
Meachem: Now an unrestricted free agent, we’ll see just how much the Saints feel like Meachem means to them. He disappears for long stretches but when he shows up, he does so in grand fashion. He had 40 catches for 620 yards and six scores in 2011 and he’s third in Saints history for average at 16.1 yards per reception. He had two 100-yard games this past season, both against Detroit. He’s the type of receiver that another team may think they like and offer him good money, a la Scott Fujita in 2010. We can see the Saints trying to keep him, but him going elsewhere as he views his monetary worth as more than New Orleans does.
Henderson: The former LSU standout has one year remaining on his contract and he’s set to count nearly $3.6 million against the cap in 2012. His situation, in our eyes, is tied to Meachem. If Meachem re-signs with the Saints, Henderson likely is out as a money-saving measure. However, if Meachem goes elsewhere, there’s every reason to keep him around as the team’s lone-remaining deep threat. He disappears for long stretches (heard that before?) but when he reappears, he does so in grand fashion (heard that before?). We see Henderson sticking around for one more year.
Arrington: The great Arrington Experiment never seems to end. This past season, he was inactive in 12 games and played only when Lance Moore was inactive with various maladies. He’s an exclusive rights free agent so if the Saints tender him, he’ll be back. We assume the Saints will tender him and he’ll be back.
Roby: The special teams captain all but sealed his fate in the playoffs with his fumble on a kickoff return. Roby is out of contract and is an unrestricted free agent. He became expendable when Darren Sproles was signed and turned in a brilliant special teams performance as a returner. We don’t see Roby back with the Saints.
Morstead: Unless Morstead suddenly finds himself on the moon for space exploration this coming fall, there is no way he’s not with the Saints. No kicker had more touchbacks this past season. Only one punter had a better net average in the NFL than Morstead’s 43.1 average and his gross average was an astounding 48.3 yards per punt.
Kasay: Here’s an interesting one. The Saints have one kicker signed through 2015 and it’s not the one who was second in the NFL in scoring and went 28 of 34 this season. Kasay, who has 21 years in the NFL, was 11 of 11 from inside 29 yards, 10 of 10 inside 39 yards, 5 of 8 inside 49 yards and 2 of 5 from beyond 50. The question is do the Saints think he has enough leg to go one more year, especially with Hartley signed through 2015. We see Kasay back for at least training camp.
Drescher: There’s no reason to believe Drescher, another exclusive rights free agent, won’t be back. So we’ll say that he’s coming back as the long-snapper.
Hartley: He signed a long-term contract prior to the 2011 season but he injured his hip late in training camp. Coach Sean Payton has put his faith and belief in Hartley. He’ll be back in 2012.