Saints have done well in free agency under the circumstances

Saints have done well in free agency under the circumstances

Saints have done well in free agency under the circumstances

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 15, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 15 at 1:33 PM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

Opinion/Analysis

Finally, Saints fans can relax.

With the signing of Ben Grubbs this morning, New Orleans has accomplished almost everything it could have to save its record-breaking offense in one of the most important free-agent periods in its history.

Yes, Drew Brees isn’t under a long-term contract and yes it seems highly unlikely from reading the tea leaves that he’ll play under the franchise tag.

But that’s a completely different matter, one that few truly believe won’t end happily for both player and team.

When we began this offseason, there was little belief the Saints could keep all three of their biggest free agents.

Marques Colston was looking for big money and so was Carl Nicks.

To get all three, including Brees, would have destroyed the salary cap.

Or so we thought.

General manager Mickey Loomis and owner Tom Benson, however, have seemingly found ways to work the accounting, signing Colston to his big contract and getting Grubbs to replace Nicks.

Both Colston and Grubbs will make $7 million-plus, not a small figure considering the Saints were nearing only $6 million in cap space as free agency opened.

The Saints will reportedly bring in several linebackers, an admission that there’s still work to be done and that one of the weakest parts of the team needs to be upgraded.

Still, what they’ve done so far is a good sign.

That they can operate in such a high capacity while under so much scrutiny thanks to the pay for performance program says a lot about those running things.

We know what Colston can do.

He’s a key target for Brees, one who presents mismatches for opponents because of his size and skill. He also opens the offense, providing cover for tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles.

Grubbs, though, is a bit of unknown commodity down here for those who aren’t NFL wonks.

Suffice it to say he’s a great pickup to replace Nicks. He’s a Pro Bowl player, one who helped the Ravens reach rushing heights the franchise used to get to the AFC championship game this past season.

Nicks left for more money; no one can blame him for that. And the price of success for the Saints is that their players and coaches have now become hot commodities.

But there’s something else to that – the price of success also means you can get high-quality players on the market because they want to play on a winning team.

So while there are still miles to go for Loomis, the Saints have done well.

Now there's only one big thing left to do (and we don't need to tell you what that is).

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