The New Orleans Saints got their first win of the season right before their Week 6 bye. Now, after getting some rest, the Saints are looking to dig themselves out of their 1-4 hole and make a run for the playoffs. With the remainder of their schedule, it won't be easy; the Saints have to look forward to facing the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons, just to name a few.
Difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. But where would the fun be in having it easy, right?
The New Orleans Saints are better than their record indicates: They have a dynamic offense with many weapons. They have a solid special-teams. Their defense, on the other hand, needs a lot of work; they showed improvement in Week 5 in a win against the San Diego Chargers, but have a ways to go.
With the trade deadline around the corner, the Saints and the rest of the teams in the NFL are weighing their options. They can either make a trade to improve their team this season, in hopes to make a playoff push, or add some players or draft picks that will better the team in the future.
Let's take a look at a few moves the New Orleans Saints can make before the trade deadline.
Trade running back Mark Ingram to the Jets or Cardinals for a mid-round draft pick
Things aren't looking too good so far for the former first-round draft pick.
In the 2011 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints traded up with the New England Patriots to select Alabama running back Mark Ingram with the No. 28 overall pick. The Saints gave up their No. 56 pick that year, as well as their first-rounder in the 2012 NFL draft.
Can the Saints climb out of their hole and make the playoffs?
Ingram, a Heisman Trophy winner, was considered the best running back in that year's draft. He is a power runner with quickness and has the potential to be a great running back for the Saints. But he has not shown it. Through five games this season, Ingram has only picked up 106 yards on the ground, an average of 2.9 yards per carry.
The Saints can unload the running back to a team that is in desperate need of running backs, i.e. the New York Jets or Arizona Cardinals, for a mid-round pick. Their may be some teams that may be intrigued or curious about the running back from Alabama and may be interested in acquiring him.
Jonathan Vilma to the Colts for a mid-round draft pick(s)
Three-time pro bowl linebacker Jonathan Vilma has not played one snap this season. Either he's suspended. He's not suspended. Commissioner Goodell doesn't enjoy losing so Vilma's suspension stands. It has been a circus revolving Vilma, to say the least.
Don't get me wrong, Vilma is a heck of a player. He has played his heart out for the New Orleans Saints franchise. He was the defense's leader. But Vilma is in his ninth season—in which he hasn't even played yet—and coming off an injury. The Saints signed a younger linebacker in Curtis Lofton and picked up David Hawthorne. Where does Vilma fit in?
Assuming Vilma is fully recovered from knee surgery, the Saints can get a decent draft pick(s) for Jonathan Vilma. Being that Vilma may still have a few good years ahead of him, the Saints can get a third or fourth round draft pick for him. The Saints can use their extra pick(s) to get some defensive players. We all know the Saints need help on the defensive side of the ball.
The Indianapolis Colts are in a rebuilding phase now and after Sunday's embarrassing loss to the New York Jets, it's evident that their defense needs help, especially with the injury bug going around in the defensive unit. All their injuries have slowed any progress the Colts were making on defense. A linebacker like Vilma on the Colts would be a great help.
Defensive End Will Smith to the Jaguars for a first round pick
Will Smith, the fresh prince of Bourbon Street, has been an impact player on the Saints' defensive unit for years. A former pro bowler who has been a disruptive force against the pass and run can provide an intriguing option for some teams.
Smith has two sacks this season and has shown some productivity from time to time in pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Yes, the Saints need all the help they can get in that department, but Smith is getting older, and his play is inconsistent and far from that 13 sack season he had for the Saints in 2009.
Smith also doesn't come cheap. With the younger defensive ends like Junior Galette, Cameron Jordan or Martez Wilson on the roster, it may be wise to go separate ways with Will Smith and get something out of it.
The NFL is a passing league nowadays, right? Teams are always looking for pass-rushers and may give up a late-first round pick for the defensive end who has had an impressive career with 541 tackles, 20 forced fumbles (six recovered), and 63.5 sacks.
A team in desperate need of some pass-rushing skills is the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the 2012 season so far, the Jaguars are last in sacks with three. Will Smith has two.
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