Loomis: Saints' offseason going as planned

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
8:00
AM ET
From the outside looking in, the New Orleans Saints’ offseason has probably seemed a bit hectic.

The Saints have been full of surprises, from the big-name acquisitions of Jairus Byrd and Champ Bailey to the big-name departures of Darren Sproles and others.

[+] EnlargeMickey Loomis
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsMickey Loomis has made several key additions to the Saints' roster despite salary-cap constraints.
Based on reactions from fans and national analysts alike, the biggest head-scratcher of all has been the fact that the Saints keep adding ammo to the roster despite a tight squeeze against the salary cap.

But none of these moves have been made on the fly.

General manager Mickey Loomis insisted last week that just about every move the Saints made was part of a calculated plan.

“It’s not a process where all of a sudden there’s somebody [available] and you decide, ‘Hey, let’s go do this,’” Loomis said while speaking with reporters at LSU’s pro day.

“We have a short-term plan and a long-term plan,” Loomis continued. “And we come into each offseason with 19 or 20 or 25 different things that we want to get accomplished. And you just kind of go down the checklist. And obviously things come up that are unexpected, and you have to react to those. But for the most part, it’s a plan and an execution of the plan.

“So I would say it was kind of business as usual.”

Asked how many of those items the Saints have hit, Loomis said, “We’ve hit a lot of them. We always do. We don’t hit every item, but we hit almost all of them.”

(Click here for a recap of all the Saints' moves as of the beginning of last week.)

The Saints are actually in great shape with the salary cap after agreeing to a pay cut with defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley last week. They’re now $3.6 million under the cap, and they probably don’t have too many more expensive purchases left in their shopping cart.

New Orleans still has some noteworthy tasks left to complete. The biggest is signing tight end Jimmy Graham to a long-term contract extension, but Loomis insisted that there is no immediate pressure to get that done. Graham's franchise tag figure is already counting $7.035 million against the Saints' salary cap, so they don't need to clear out any new cap space for him.

The Saints also need to find a new starting center after letting Brian de la Puente get away in free agency, though they like second-year pro Tim Lelito’s potential as a candidate for that role.

And there are a few other positions where New Orleans needs to get younger, including receiver, but most of those needs can be filled through the draft.

As Loomis suggested, we won’t know until the fall whether the Saints’ plan worked out. But so far, at least, everything is going as planned.

“I feel like we’ve executed our plan well,” Loomis said. “Whether that’s a good plan or not remains to be seen. But we feel like it is.”

Mike Triplett

ESPN New Orleans Saints reporter

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