$how Me The Money: Which Unhappy New Orleans Saints Will Get Big Deals?
Once you win a ring, it's time to get paid.
That's the mindset in the NFL, and you see it every year. A player's monetary value is never higher than it is the year after winning it all. The Super Bowl winner is usually one of the teams that sees its roster gets raided in the offseason.
One of the more glaring examples came when New Orleans gave Jason David millions of dollars after he won a title with the Colts. David quickly drew the ire of Saints fans and was released after two years.
The free agency rules changed this season, and teams have been able to keep more of their own players. A player must now have accrued six NFL seasons instead of four to qualify for unrestricted free agency.
This change has upset many players who were expecting to cash in on lucrative long-term deals, and instead have had to settle for one-year tenders.
Which players will New Orleans reward? Here are four notable Saints that are looking for long-term contracts:
1) Jammal Brown, OT
Years in the NFL: Five
Reasons for a long-term contract: Brown is an above average left tackle, and he protects Drew Brees' blindside. The Packers showed what happens when a talented team goes through a season without solid play from its tackles.
Reasons against a long-term contract: Brown missed the entire NFL season and the Saints won a Super Bowl without him. He had two surgeries last season and it's completely unknown whether or not he can be back at the top of his game. Even though he's an above average left tackle, he's not elite.
Chances of a new contract: 4 out of 10. New Orleans drafted Charles Brown in the second round this year to groom as Jammal's possible replacement.
2) Roman Harper, SS
Years in the NFL: Four
Reasons for a long-term contract : Harper has been among the team leader in tackles in each of the past three seasons. He is very durable, as he's played in 50 of the team's last 51 games, including the playoffs.
Reasons against a long-term contract : Harper is not a game-changer. He's not a big a hitter that forces a bunch of fumbles and he hasn't picked off a pass since 2007. Despite making a bunch of tackles, he also easily shaken by quicker running backs running right at him.
Chances of a new contract : 8 out of 10. He's not a star, but he's a solid pro who's consistent from game to game.
3) Lance Moore, WR
Age: 27 (when the season starts)
Years in the NFL: Four
Reasons for a long-term contract: Moore broke out in 2008 with 79 catches, 928, and 10 touchdowns despite starting just six games. He's an intelligent player who is one of Brees' more dependable receivers, especially on third down.
Reasons against a long-term contract: Injuries limited him to just ten games (three postseason) and he had very little impact in all but one of them. Moore is no better than the third best receiver on the team, with Marques Colston and Robert Meachem ahead of him.
Chances of a new contract: 6 out of 10. The Saints like Moore, but it's difficult to tell how much impact he'll have this year as the team's third or fourth wide out.
4) Pierre Thomas, RB
Years in the NFL: Three
Reasons for a long-term contract: Thomas is a touchdown machine, having scored 20 touchdowns in his last 28 regular season games plus three more in the playoffs. He's as clutch of a player as it gets. He's scored nine touchdowns in the past two seasons in the fourth quarter and all three of his playoff touchdowns gave the Saints the lead.
Reasons against a long-term contract: Thomas reportedly wants Steven Jackson-type money, and that's a little rich for the Saints' blood. Jackson, the Rams star running back, currently has a six-year contract worth $44.8 million with $20.5 million guaranteed.
Chances of a new contract: 9 out of 10. Once he realizes that he's not getting top dollar, Thomas will likely settle for something around five years and $22 million. He's the most valuable of the Saints' free agents.
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