NFC South: NFL free agency 2011

In recent years, the New Orleans Saints have become a haven for players who have had their careers stall elsewhere. Bringing in guys like Jonathan Vilma and Anthony Hargrove worked quite nicely.

Maybe that’s why the Saints went out and added a couple of offensive tackles, who, once upon a time, were first-round draft picks. The Saints have brought in Alex Barron and George Foster.

Barron was the 19th overall pick by St. Louis in 2005. With the Rams, Barron became notorious for false-start and holding penalties. He was traded to Dallas last year, but that didn’t do much to revive his career.

Foster was the 20th overall pick by Denver in 2003. He went to the Detroit Lions in 2007 and lasted their through 2008. In 2009, he went through training camp with Cleveland, but didn’t make the regular-season roster. Most recently, he was with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.

“We want to take a peek at these guys and see how they do while they are here,’’ coach Sean Payton told the media. “Both of these guys are veteran players that we think can compete and compete for a job and that’s why they are here.’’

The Saints aren’t in horrible shape at either tackle position, but they also aren’t loaded. Jermon Bushrod has been the starting left tackle the past two seasons, but has been far from dominant. The Saints drafted Charles Brown last season, but he might not be ready for significant playing time.

Right tackle Jon Stinchcomb made the Pro Bowl in the 2009 season, but played with an injured quad muscle last season and struggled at times. There are no guarantees Foster or Barron will make the roster. But one or both could stick around and provide depth.

Then, there’s the long-shot scenario that one, or both, ends up starting. It’s a very long shot. But, like I said at the top, the Saints have had some luck in the past with reclamation projects.

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