New Orleans Saints Offseason Overview: Quarterbacks

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IJanuary 25, 2009

Over the next several weeks, I will be taking a position-by-position look at the New Orleans Saints. I will be highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each position and will give my take as to how the Saints can improve.

This week I am looking at the quarterbacks.

After years of futility at the most important position in football, the Saints now have one of the most settled quarterback situations in the league.

Since arriving in New Orleans three years ago, Drew Brees has finished as the runner-up in the MVP race and recently was named AP Offensive Player of the Year.

New Orleans, however, could use an upgrade on the depth chart behind Brees.

The Saints are just an ACL tear or a separated shoulder away from a 2-14 season.

38-year-old Mark Brunell, the Saints’ second string quarterback, has one year left on his contract and is scheduled to make $1.1 million in 2009.

The 16-year veteran has not thrown a pass in two seasons and there are questions as to how much he’s got left.

Joey Harrington, last season’s off and on third-stringer, is a free agent.

Harrington’s woes are well-chronicled.  He was a first round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2002.  His Lions struggled tremendously during his four seasons in the Motor City.  Detroit won only 19 games while he was there.

Recent history has suggested that Harrington was just an east scapegoat.

The Lions went 0-16 this year without Harrington.  In 2006, Harrington was member of the Miami Dolphins.  They went 6-10 that season. After replacing Harrington in 2007, the Dolphins went 1-15.

I think that the Saints should try to re-sign Harrington and let him compete with Brunell for the back-up position.

The free agent market does not offer a better, cheaper alternative.

The market includes local products Luke McCown (Louisiana Tech) and Patrick Ramsey (Tulane) as well as former Saint Todd Bouman.

While many teams may draft a quarterback to push the back-ups, the Saints do not have that luxury.  New Orleans only has four selections in April’s draft and must fill many other pressing needs.

I expect the Saints to bring some continuity to their stable of quarterbacks and re-sign Harrington to a one- or two-year deal for near the league minimum.