New Orleans Saints Can Get "Edge" Through Free Agency

Barry WallContributor IJune 14, 2009

I’m not saying Reggie Bush was the worst first-round draft pick ever (Ryan Leaf is a wanted man in Texas), but he is not the type of back the New Orleans Saints need to push their already stellar offense into overdrive.

For all of you doubters out there, I will take you back to the black and gold’s Super Bowl-bound year of 2007. After starting the season 0-4, the Saints struggled to get to a 5-6 mark after the first of two critical division games. The Saints returned home with the Superdome abuzz with talk of reviving this disappointing season.

With little time remaining in the fourth quarter, all the Saints had to do was hold on to the ball for a 23-20 victory, but a botched "double reverse" by Bush literally threw away the season of a team that could have been so much more.

Bush has his place in the offense; he far surpasses most running backs in his ability to catch the ball in the flat and gain an easy five to seven yards or as the speed portion of a two-back equation. But his lack of size and unwillingness to run between tackles leaves the Saints at a disadvantage.

If only there was some way for the Saints to pick up a true power back (no offense Pierre Thomas).

Enter Edgerrin James. The future Hall of Famer is on the market after asking for his release from the Arizona Cardinals for lack of playing time. The 11-year veteran is in great shape, given the fact he had much of the regular season and subsequent offseason to rest.

James could give the Saints a big boost as a reliable redzone back that can break down opposing front lines for Bush and Thomas and keep coverage more honest against the pass. (Just imagine an even more efficient passing game!) With Bush and Thomas coming into the season off injuries, the addition of James could be a welcome relief to an injury plagued running attack.

The Saints did a great job addressing their obvious defensive issues by drafting Malcolm Jenkins, who, given time, can become a star safety in the NFL.

Despite the team’s best efforts, the black and gold are still weak at tackle and feature only one solid linebacker in Jonathan Vilma. Longstanding Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis offers a great opportunity to pick up a veteran with at least two good seasons left in his tank. If Ellis can add his 36 tackles and eight sacks from last season to an ailing defensive unit, that would really help beef up the New Orleans pass attack.

No matter what July brings, the Saints are an overall improved unit this season, but these two great free agents could help the Saints return to the top of the NFC South and possibly make them Super Bowl contenders once more.