Despite the New Orleans Saints' 35-28 victory Sunday, they remain one or two players away from being a legitimate contender this season.
Whether it's acquiring a veteran who could provide immediate help or draft picks to improve the team's long-term prospects, here are a few moves the team should make to improve the roster now and in the future.
Any trade wish list would be incomplete if it did not include moving Chris Ivory. At this point it's obvious he needs to move on. A team such as Cincinnati would love to have a back who combines power and speed the way Ivory does.
The Saints would be lucky to get a fifth-round pick for him. An even later-round pick could help the team going forward. And getting rid of Ivory would eliminate the controversy about how to distribute playing time among the Saints' five running backs.
It would be a win-win for the Saints.
Few players on the Saints roster deserve the "bust" label as much as defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. Though he's had his moments, Ellis is not the player he was projected to be when drafted No. 7 overall in 2008.
Tom Johnson, Brodrick Bunkley and rookie Akiem Hicks have all outperformed Ellis in 2012. Yet it is undeniable that Ellis is a talented player.
For that reason, he could command quite a haul in a trade. That, of course, is relative, as trades in the NFL rarely seem to produce the kind of return they do in other sports.
But a third-round pick for a former top-10 pick would be a good trade for a player who hasn't lived up to the hype.
Few teams have the needs that the Detroit Lions have at running back, and the Saints are stacked at that position.
So trading away a back for a veteran receiver such as Nate Burleson or defensive end such as Lawrence Jackson would work well.
It is probably a long shot at best, but a potential trade for either of these players would make the Saints a legitimate threat to make the playoffs.
Mike Adams is a defensive back who would improve the Saints. The Louisiana-Lafayette alum is not perfect, but he has three interceptions and two forced fumbles in his career as a reserve defensive back.
Though the Saints have shown improvement in the secondary, the team still struggles in pass coverage. Adding a veteran presence from a team that lacks a star running back could be just the piece the team needs to make a playoff run.
No acquisition is going to instantly makes the team a legitimate contender. All the Saints can do is try to acquire the best possible talent and make it work.
If that is done, the Saints could become just the second team to start the season 0-4 and make the playoffs.
It would be fun to see it happen, wouldn't it?