NFL free agency began this week, and with the New Orleans Saints making no shortage of waves, it’s already clear that next year’s Saints squad will have a very different look than the team who took the field in 2013.
New Orleans signed free safety Jairus Byrd on Tuesday, inking the former Buffalo Bill to a six-year deal. Two days later, the Saints traded away a highly accomplished offensive weapon in running back Darren Sproles. New Orleans acquired a fifth-round draft pick from Philadelphia in exchange for Sproles, which gives the Saints an opportunity to build depth through the draft with a young player.
The team’s busy offseason didn’t just begin this week, however, as the Saints have been on a furious, cap-space-clearing binge since before free agency began. A quartet of marquee players from past seasons were handed their walking papers, including cornerback Jabari Greer, linebacker Will Smith, safety Roman Harper and wide receiver Lance Moore. New Orleans also parted ways with free-agent linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
These moves have drawn some backlash from Saints players and fans, but with New Orleans in penny-pinch mode, bigger priorities prevail, such as competing for a championship.
The recent flurry of moves, followed by an active week on the free-agency front, is somewhat revealing as to the intentions of New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis. Following are five things we’ve learned about the Saints since the start of free agency.