New Orleans Saints: will herring

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will not be signing linebacker Will Herring, according to sources.

Herring had agreed to a one-year deal Thursday, but both sides agreed to walk away, which keeps Herring as a free agent. Because Herring never signed the deal, the team never made an announcement. A source said it was not related to a failed physical.

UPDATE: Herring’s agent, George Mavrikes said he is angry with the Cowboys, saying they reneged on the deal.

“He passed the physical but they think he may be an injury risk,” Mavrikes said via e-mail. “He is healthier than 90% of the league. He hasn't missed a game or a practice the last two years and maybe missed five or so games in seven years, four because of a hamstring in his rookie year. They need solid players like him. Fairly priced, never an issue off the field, can play (outside linebacker), was special teams captain, plays great against the pass and most of all, doesn't get hurt, which is why they said they want out of the deal they agreed to. It's crazy and makes no sense.”

Herring was viewed as a special teams player and backup linebacker for the Cowboys. He spent the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, playing mostly special teams and backup linebacker, and was the special teams captain in 2013.

In his three years with the Saints he started three games and had 35 tackles, two interceptions and forced one fumble. He joined the Saints after a four-year run with the Seattle Seahawks. He had three tackles on defense and two on special teams in New Orleans' win against the Cowboys last season.
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have reached an agreement with linebacker Will Herring on a one-year deal, according to sources.

Herring
Herring spent the last three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, playing mostly special teams and backup linebacker. He was the Saints' special teams captain in 2013.

In his three years with the Saints, Herring started three games and had 35 tackles, two interceptions and forced one fumble. He joined the Saints after a four-year run with the Seattle Seahawks. He had three tackles on defense and two on special teams in New Orleans' win against the Cowboys last season.

Herring is the third player the Cowboys have signed in free agency, joining Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain.
The New Orleans Saints have 13 players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on March 11, plus the three players they released last month. Here's a breakdown of their defensive reserves:

LB Will Herring: Age 30. Height/weight: 6-3, 241.

Scouting report: Herring has spent the last three years in New Orleans as a core special teams player and backup linebacker. He was named a special teams captain last year and played more special teams snaps than anyone on the team (81.9 percent). He has never earned consistent playing time on defense during his time with the Saints, though, making a total of three starts with a total of 35 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Herring spent his first four seasons in Seattle.

Projection: The Saints could bring back Herring in a similar role, since he's been such a valued special teams leader and would probably come at an affordable rate. However, it's possible they could look to get younger at those positions.

LB Ramon Humber: Age 26. Height/weight: 5-11, 232.

Scouting report: Humber's bio is almost an exact replica of Herring's. He has spent the past four years in New Orleans as a backup linebacker and core special teams player. He played the second-most snaps on special teams last year (74.3 percent). And he has made six “spot starts” over the past four years, with a total of 63 tackles, 1.5 sacks and no forced turnovers. He had a career-high 29 tackles last year while starting three games for the Saints. Humber began his career with Indianapolis for a season and a half.

Projection: Humber is even more likely to re-sign with the Saints or find work elsewhere. He looked very solid in his cameo appearances on defense last year – especially as a run defender. Plus, he's still young without too much wear on the tires.

S Jordan Pugh: Age 26. Height/weight: 5-11, 210.

Pugh played in only one game with the Saints last year. They signed him just before their season-ending playoff loss at Seattle to add some special teams help. But he had plenty of NFL experience before that as a solid backup and special teamer with the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins for four years. I could see the Saints inviting him to camp this summer to compete for a similar role.

DE Kenyon Coleman: Age 34. Height/weight: 6-5, 293.

Coleman plans to retire after missing all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.
A position-by-position look at where the New Orleans Saints stand heading into the 2014 offseason -- ranked from 1-12 in order of the team's need for upgrades or replacements.

Current depth chart:

Lofton
Curtis Lofton. Age 27, signed through 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $3.2 million. 2014 salary-cap number: $5.2 million.

David Hawthorne. Age 28, signed through 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $2 million. 2014 salary-cap number: $3.51 million.

Parys Haralson. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.

Jonathan Vilma. Age 31, unrestricted free agent.

Ramon Humber. Age 26, unrestricted free agent.

Will Herring. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.

Kevin Reddick. Age 24, scheduled to become restricted free agent in 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $495,000. 2014 salary-cap number: $496,666.

Analysis:

As I wrote earlier, I broke down the Saints' front seven into three categories (interior linemen, edge rushers and linebackers) since they run a hybrid between a 4-3 and a 3-4. So this is essentially the group of true linebackers who play in space, rather than the pass-rushing linebackers such as Junior Galette.

This may not seem like one of the Saints' most glaring needs since Lofton and Hawthorne played so well this past season. But look how thin the list gets behind those two veterans. I think it would be especially helpful for the Saints to look at this group in the draft since they need to inject youth and athleticism -- someone who could rotate into the mix right away and develop into a future starter.

Just imagine how much more potent this defense would be with an outside linebacker like Tampa Bay's Lavonte David or Carolina's Thomas Davis roaming the flats. And I ranked this list even before Seattle outside linebacker Malcolm Smith was named Super Bowl MVP, but it seems especially fitting now.

As for the guys who are under contract, I think the Saints are set with their two starting inside linebackers, Lofton and Hawthorne. Lofton played especially well down the stretch this past season, and he has been a great addition as an every-down middle linebacker, captain and leader of the defense. What a smooth transition he has made since arriving as a free agent in 2012. Hawthorne, on the other hand, struggled when he first arrived in 2012, mostly because of injuries. But he bounced back this past year and played at a high level. Hawthorne's contract could become an issue in 2015, but for now he comes at a good rate.

Reddick will also be back, and I could see him playing a more prominent role after he earned playing time as an undrafted rookie in 2013. He played a lot on special teams and joined the defense in jumbo packages. He could have a future as an inside linebacker if he continues to deliver on his potential.

The two biggest question marks among the unrestricted free agents are Vilma and Haralson. I know the popular opinion is that Vilma will be gone after he missed almost all of last season with a knee injury, and he'll be 32 in the spring. However, if he wants to try and play this summer, the Saints would be the team most likely to give him that opportunity since he's been such a valued member of the organization. Haralson is also coming off of a season-ending pectoral injury, but I could also see him back at a minimal contract after he seemed like such a good veteran fit in a part-time role last year.

Humber and Herring are two of the Saints' most valued special teamers, so they could both be back. Humber showed promise as a backup middle linebacker in the summer, as well, so his versatility is valuable.

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