As a deal inches closer that could put an end to the first NFL Lockout since the '80s, I thought it would be fun to look at a few players the Saints could do without and the ones who would take their place on the roster.
Free agency will most certainly move at a fast and frantic pace once an agreement is reached, and the Saints will have their work cut out for them just trying to re-sign valuable players and staying within the salary cap (if there is one). Here are just a few players who should be released in order to free up cap space and bring in talent where needed.
Is it safe to say that Alex Brown was a huge disappointment last year? With only 39 total tackles and a depressing two sacks, I sure think so. A lot of people are ready to anoint Cameron Jordan as our saviour and grace at the defensive end position, but I'm not quite ready to make that commitment.
I think he'll be a great player one day under Gregg Williams' versatile defense, which uses many different schemes to create disruption and chaos, but I feel it would be best to sub him in and out of games for a year or two until he is completely comfortable with the complex system.
Alex Brown is due to make $3 million under his current contract, and I don't feel he is worth that as either a full-time starter or mentor for Cameron Jordan. So what is there to be done? I think the best thing to do would be to cut our ways with Alex Brown and fork over some money to get Ray Edwards who will be hitting free-agency as soon as a deal is done.
Ray Edwards would be a huge improvement over Alex Brown and at the same a slightly higher cost (2010 salary was $2.5 million). Edwards is younger and faster than Brown and tallied 37 tackles and eight sacks in 2010 through 14 games. Will Smith could also serve a four-game suspension at the beginning of the year, which would put Edwards and Jordan as the primary starters for up to four games.
Another player who could free up some cap space is Randall Gay. Primarily used in nickel and dime packages, Gay is not crucial to the team's success as he only saw action in four games in 2010. Last year's draftee Patrick Robinson seems to be learning the system quickly and could fill that role along with this year's third-round draft pick Johnny Patrick. Releasing Gay would free up $4 million in cap space.
So who would fill his roster spot? I know that this might seem like shooting for the stars, but why not Sidney Rice? Too big of a name for ya? Well, let me just start by saying that he made a lowly $550,000 in 2010 and would be well within the cap requirements of the team.
Not needed? Well, let's remember that Marques Colston has had his second knee surgery of his short career and his recovery is something to be questioned. Let's also not forget that Lance Moore and Devery Henderson always seem to be riddled with injuries.
Bringing in Rice would secure our spot as one of the best passing teams in the game and would also allow us to release Devery Henderson if need be.
I don't know about you, but a receiving corps that consists of Sidney Rice, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore seems very appetizing.
Finally we reach the most controversial cut of them all. No, not Matt Giardano. I'm talking about Reggie....(must refuse urge) Bush. There, I said it.
The Saints are on the hook for $11.8 million for the third-string specialist, Bush. Just let that sink in for a moment. Anyways, releasing Reggie Bush would allow us to reach out to two players I think could be great contributors to the team.
One would be Dawan Landry of Baltimore, who earned a reported $1.75 million last year. Landry would compete with Roman Harper for a starting job, which I think he would earn, and bring a physical presence as well as provide depth to the position.
The last player I think the Saints should reach out to is Kurt Rocco of the Cleveland Gladiators. Who? Kurt Rocco is a former quarterback for the Mount Union Purple Raiders and is currently throwing touchdowns for the Arena League team, Cleveland Gladiators.
Rocco is responsible for putting such guys as Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts on the map (a very small map). The last time I checked Rocco was up to 68 touchdowns with only 14 picks on the very small field of the arena league.
Kurt would provide Chase Daniels some competition for the back up job in New Orleans and would instantly show Sean Canfield the door to the open market.
As you can see, releasing Reggie Bush, Alex Brown and Randall Gay would not only free up roster spots, but also roster spots that could be better utilized and at a cheaper price. Releasing said players would free up a total of $18.8 million dollars and give us some breathing room for free-agency spending.