Best and Worst Moves of New Orleans Saints' Free Agency so Far
This free-agency period, the New Orleans Saints made some moves toward fixing their roster and moving past their forgettable 2012 NFL season. But with some holes still needing to be fixed at backup quarterback, left tackle and pass-rusher, the Saints still have a lot of work cut out for them.
Free agency has taken some Saints, so this roster looks different. But that may be for the better. The team lost starting tackle Jermon Bushrod, Chase Daniel and Jonathan Casillas. The list may grow, as they have several other free agents on the roster, so stay tuned because this could get interesting.
For now, let's take a look at some of the best and worst moves the Saints have made in free agency so far.
Best Move: Keeping Courtney Roby
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The New Orleans Saints re-signed the special teams standout and last year's special teams captain, Courtney Roby. Roby has been with the Saints since 2008. He has been valuable to the Saints on kickoff and punt coverage.
Roby does it all for the Saints and has been very important to the team's success. In the past, Roby served as a kickoff returner and backup option at receiver.
Worst Move: Letting Go of Chase Daniel
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The 2009 undrafted quarterback out of Missouri is no longer with the New Orleans Saints. Daniel signed a three-year deal worth $10 million with the Kansas City Chiefs, and now the Saints are looking for someone to serve as a backup to Drew Brees.
Chase Daniel learned Sean Payton's offense for years and served as a good backup. The Saints will now have to look for a new quarterback that can learn the system quickly.
Best Move: Signing Keenan Lewis
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The Saints desperately needed help at the cornerback position, and they got some. New Orleans signed ex-Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis to a five-year deal to help fix a secondary that surrendered the second-most yards in the league last season.
Lewis was taken in the third round of the 2009 draft. He earned the No. 2 cornerback spot alongside Ike Taylor. It was his tackling and coverage skills that got him there. Last season, Lewis finished with 71 tackles, 23 passes defended and one forced fumble.
Worst Move: Restructuring Will Smith's Contract
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Even with a restructured contract, the aging defensive end still takes some salary cap. I believe this was a bad move on the Saints' part. Will Smith is older, slower and a lot less effective. Smith used to be a top pass-rusher but has been on the decline. He finished the season with six sacks and 58 tackles.
It's unknown how Smith will fit in in the 3-4 scheme that Rob Ryan brings to the team. It was time for the Saints to move on from the past and build for the future.
Best Move: Keeping Junior Galette
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The Saints made the right choice by keeping defensive end Junior Galette. Despite missing four games due to an ankle injury last season, Galette still managed to get five sacks and was a constant headache to opposing quarterbacks.
The 6'2", 257-pound defensive end can benefit from Rob Ryan's scheme. He can be effective as either a defensive end or a pass-rushing linebacker. And it's well known that the Saints need all the help they can get in the pass-rushing area.
Best Move: Signing Benjamin Watson
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The Saints were in the market for a No. 2 tight end after they decided to release David Thomas. But that is no longer a necessity after they signed former Cleveland Browns tight end Benjamin Watson to a three-year deal. Watson can be a valuable weapon for Drew Brees and is an upgrade over the brittle Thomas. The veteran tight end will serve as a good backup to Jimmy Graham.
In Watson's nine NFL seasons, he has racked up 3,776 yards for 28 touchdowns.