Friday, March 14, 2014
Morning report: Unsigned Saints
By Mike Triplett
So far, only two of the New Orleans Saints' free agents have signed with other teams. Safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles right out of the gate Tuesday. Then linebacker Will Herring agreed to a deal with the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
There hasn't been much activity reported with anyone else so far -- including tight end Jimmy Graham, it's worth noting. Remember, Graham is now free to negotiate with other teams, but they'd have to be willing to give up two first-round draft picks to sign him.
It's certainly still possible that a team will decide to make a run at Graham. But it would appear to bode well for the Saints' chances of keeping him that there hasn't been an immediate recruiting battle.
Meanwhile, it remains possible that the Saints could wind up re-signing players like offensive tackle Zach Strief, center Brian de la Puente, receivers Robert Meachem and Joe Morgan, fullback Jed Collins, quarterback Luke McCown and linebackers Parys Haralson and Ramon Humber. So far there has been only one reported visit scheduled among that group -- Morgan with the Kansas City Chiefs, as first reported by the Detroit Free Press. Multiple reports have the Miami Dolphins showing interest in Strief, though a visit had not been lined up yet as of Thursday.
Former Saints safety Roman Harper visited with the division-rival Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, according to the Charlotte Observer. There have been no reported visits yet for the other veterans the Saints have released (Lance Moore, Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma and Jabari Greer).
Saints didn't pursue Jenkins: In case you missed it, Jenkins told The Times-Picayune on Tuesday that the Saints never made an offer to re-sign him, while the Eagles aggressively pursued him. Jenkins said it was tough to leave the place where he began his NFL career, met his wife and started his family. But the choice was ultimately an easy one.
Jenkins also told the Philadelphia media that he was excited by the leadership role the Eagles were offering -- and admitted he needs to improve his tackling.
Worth a click:
- I loved WDSU television reporter Fletcher Mackel's reference to a term he stole from the Netflix series “House of Cards” when he referred to the Saints' moves this offseason as “ruthless pragmatism.”
- NewOrleansSaints.com reporter John Deshazier also had a great line on the Saints' surprising pickup of safety Jairus Byrd on Tuesday, calling it a “game-changing pick six.”
- FOX 8 reporter Sean Fazende pointed out that the Saints have now signed players to contracts that were the richest in NFL history at the time for a safety (Byrd), a quarterback (Drew Brees in 2012) and a guard (Jahri Evans in 2010). And they'll almost certainly sign the richest tight end deal in league history with Graham at some point.
- Deshazier also caught up with Saints running back Pierre Thomas, who said it “means a whole lot to me” that the Saints signed him to a two-year extension.
- The Saints' site posted a video tribute to running back Darren Sproles after he was traded to the Eagles.
- ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert broke down why Sproles is a perfect fit for the Eagles' offense.
- Sports Illustrated analyst Andy Benoit had a detailed breakdown on why he thinks the Saints will be fine without all of their departed veterans.