Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter
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Sometimes big, shiny objects gain our attention and distract us from what's really going on.

What the Saints have done in free agency isn't one of those times.

Jairus Byrd, the big-name safety the Saints signed right out of the gate, is more like the bow on the box full of players that has been New Orleans' grab bag of goodies this year.

It's what they've done after that that has been so, well, swell.

Pro Bowler Champ Bailey and bruising fullback Eric Lorig are among those brought in from the outside and should pay immediate dividends, what with Bailey's experience and Lorig's bruising blocking style.

Rafael Bush, Zach Strief and Ramon Humber are among those sticking around with new contracts, each keeping something in-house the Saints knew they had and needed.

Pierre Thomas had a contract renegotiated to keep him around longer, keeping around one of the NFL's most underrated players.

All of these are good moves, ones that bring in players who can immediately help while keeping around those who fill an important need.

And the positions of need left open, namely receiver, can be filled in May's NFL draft.

It's too early to actually grade what they've done; what players did with a former team earlier in their career won't necessarily be duplicated at new places of employment

But it's hard to see this offseason as being anything but successful for the Saints.

When it began, they had one safety on the roster. Now they've got four, including one of the game's best at taking the ball away.

When it began, they were in need of a right tackle. Now they've re-signed one who had the best season of his career in 2013 and already knows the playbook while having the trust of quarterback Drew Brees.

When it began, there were a handful of key role players the team would have been best keeping around and it did.

Even trading Darren Sproles to an NFC contender could turn out to be the perfect play in spite of his mismatch ability in New Orleans' offense; the Saints got a fifth-round draft pick in return and now have six picks in the first five rounds.

Championships certainly aren't won in March, April and May. They can become within reach, however, and the Saints have at the very least kept themselves in the running.

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