While most of the NFL fans and Louisiana sportsbooks are locked in for Super Bowl LV II updates, the New Orleans Saints are already looking towards the off-season. Despite having a great run during the last games of the season, the Saints failed to cover their early season struggles.
They ended up with a 7-10 record and failed to enter the playoffs for the second straight year. a month after that, Sean Payton was moved to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2023 and a second-round selection in 2024. Denver also received a third-round pick for the 2024 draft.
With Tom Brady’s retirement, this may be the best chance for the Saints to go all out. But it is not just about the coaching, the front office is also looking to make some changes. Here are a few of the potential moves that the New Orleans Saints could make in the off-season:
Saints Need to Work on the Offensive Line
The Saints’ offensive line performance this season was a cause of concern, ranking 28th in the league according to statistics. With tackles James Hurst and Ryan Ramczyk having grades above 74.9 for pass blocking, the rest of the linemen fell below 62.9 in their ratings.
The lackluster defensive performance didn’t help matters, with only 7 interceptions and 13 total takeaways for the second-fewest in the NFL. The offensive line is an area that needs addressing in free agency and the NFL Draft if they want to improve their fortunes in 2021.
It’s a move that needs to be made to keep up with other teams across the league and ensure a successful season moving forward.
Need to Improve Safety?
While not much changed in the personnel of the New Orleans Saints defense from 2021 to 2022, one position that saw a complete transition was safety. Malcolm Jenkins retired, Marcus Williams left for free agency with the Baltimore Ravens, and S/CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fortunately, the team was able to sign sought-after free agents Marcus Maye and Justin Evans, who were drafted in the second round. They then made an impactful move by signing four-time Pro Bowler and local fan favorite Tyrann Mathieu from LSU, surely bolstering the Saints’ defensive presence on the field.
The Saints were looking for a makeover at the safety position, and the addition of Mathieu, Maye, Evans, and Sorensen certainly provided an upgrade. However, it doesn’t appear to have been enough as the performance of the unit throughout the season was far from satisfactory.
Mathieu was strong in his production over the last month of the season, though this doesn’t necessarily mean that his presence alone was enough to refine their performance.
The Saints even had one last push and try to tie with the Bucs. They secure three straight wins to get their season going, including an upset over the Philadelphia Eagles during their week 17 match-up where they open as +6.5 underdogs.
All of the momentum and hopes fall into pieces after their 10-7 loss against the Carolina Panthers on Week 18. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secure their second straight AFC South title.
If New Orleans is hoping to make deeper strides next season they will most likely look towards bringing in bigger names that could bring more to offer in terms of impacting the defense. Don’t be surprised if another big signing is made regarding improving this spot on the roster.