The New Orleans Saints have a big off season ahead of them. After franchise tagging TE Jimmy Graham, the Saints made numerous cuts to free up some cap space. The Saints first big purchase, and by far the most important, was the best ranked safety in free agency, Jairus Byrd. Byrd signed a six-year deal worth $56 million, $28 million guaranteed. The Saints were in serious need of a free safety and Byrd will more than fill that need. He had 48 tackles, 1 sack, and 4 interceptions for the Buffalo Bills last year.
The Saints have also shopped speedy kick returner Darren Sproles. Who was eventually traded to the Eagles for a 5th round draft pick. The Saints have recently re-signed RT Zach Strief to a five year, $20.5 million deal. They also signed RB Pierre Thomas to a two year extension. The Saints still have some holes to fill at center, cornerback and wide receiver. They could re-sign some of their own free agents, Brian De La Puente or Robert Meachem, or look for some veterans. If the Saints want younger players, they may consider the draft to fill these needs.
The Saints are making a huge improvement with the addition of Jairus Byrd. A very great decision by the Saints.
The New Orleans Saints may be in some deep water this off season. The have already cut some familiar faces like Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Jabari Greer and Will Smith. That had to take some serious thought because those guys have been around awhile, even for the Super Bowl back in 2009. The Saints have also franchise tagged their most prized possession, Jimmy Graham. With free agency just 8 days away and the draft a little over two months away, the Saints have a tremendous amount of decisions to make. They have their own free agents to re-sign. They have serious needs at safety, cornerback, offensive lineman, wide receiver, and outside linebacker. Some players that could be available when the Saints draft at number 27 overall include the likes of: Jordan Matthews, Mike Evans, Marqise Lee, Jason Verrett, Bradley Roby, Darqueze Dennard, Calvin Pryor, Lamarcus Joyner, Ryan Shazier, Kyle Van Noy, Zack Martin, and Antonio Richardson.
If asked who the Saints would take at number 27, I would have to say Jordan Matthew, if he’s still available. He would step in right away and become the Saints number one wide receiver for many year’s to come. He’s big, physical and has great hands. If the Saints draft him they’ll make Drew Brees a very happy quarterback. Matthews had 112 rec for 1,477 yds and 7 td his senior season. For his career at Vanderbilt he had 262 rec for 3,759 yds and 24 td.
The Saints should try to re-sign RT Zach Strief and C Brian De La Puente. Also, they need to try to sign a few players in free agency, they could sign an offensive lineman, safety or a wide receiver. They could sign Jairus Byrd, Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks, or Branden Albert if they choose. If the Saints make good use of the draft and free agency they’ll make it deep into the playoffs in 2014. The Saints are a work in progress at this point and we’ll see what they decide to do to improve their franchise.
With free agency looming, many teams have a lot of tough decisions to make. One team that comes to mind is the Tennessee Titans, they have numerous decisions to make and plenty of players they need to sign. The best free agents Tennessee needs to re-sign are Alterraun Verner and Bernard Pollard. While Verner is going to cost them a load of money if they decide to re-sign him, Pollard is a different story. He has some age under his belt so I believe they’ll be able to re-sign him easily, however Verner might slip away to another team. Rumor has it that the Titans are meeting with Verner and Pollard at the NFL Combine.
Pollard on the left and Verner on the right.
Tennessee also needs to decide what route to take in the draft and other players that they might need to cut. With that being said, Tennessee has one big question mark beside one expensive player and that’s Chris Johnson. Johnson hasn’t been the same for the past few season. Some might speculate that he’s past his prime even though he’s only 28. Johnson is due $8 million next season and quite frankly, Tennessee just can’t afford that. For all the Titans fans, like myself, out there, don’t expect to see Chris Johnson in a Titans uniform next season.
As of right now, the Titans have approximately $10 million in cap space this year. Everybody knows what that little of money means… some well known faces are getting the infamous pink slip. As I already stated, Johnson is likely gone and that will free up $6 million. Other players could be Kamerion Whimbley ($2.4 million), David Stewart ($6.4 million), Nate Washington ($4.8 million), Craig Stevens ($2.4 million), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($3.25 million), and Eugene Amano ($2 million). If they decide to cut these players, possibly more, they’ll find themselves with $37,250,000 million in cap space. That’s a big difference from $10 million. Expect a lot of cuts between now and March 11th when free agency starts.
The 2014 NFL Combine is going to be a record breaking one if you ask me. This year’s combine has so many great players who’ll likely be NFL Hall of Fame inductees when their career is over. Some names on this list include: Sammy Watkins, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Anthony Barr, Khalil Mack, Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews, C.J. Mosley, and so many others. Saturday is day one of the combine. This is a three day event where all the best college football players, who get invited, attend to show off their mad skill while NFL scouts watch and grade them based on these skills. The Titans are one team that have a lot of players to look at in this combine. They need tons of help anywhere they can get it.
The Titans are in need of an offensive lineman, linebacker, defensive end, possibly a cornerback, running back, and strong safety. They could fill some of these holes in free agency, especially by re-signing some of their own free agents. If Tennessee re-signs Bernard Pollard like they’ve made perfectly clear that they want to do and also re-sign Alterraun Verner, if he’s in their price range, to a long term contract to lock him up for the future. The Titans only have an offensive lineman, linebacker, defensive end and cornerback. With 6 picks in the draft, Tennessee have a great chance to fill all those positions with quality players. Now let’s see who Tennessee will likely scout this year.
The person they’ll keep their eyes on the most is going to be Anthony Barr or Jake Matthews. Since Barr is going to fall after Matthews I’d say Barr is going to be their main target. Some other players may include: Khalil Mack, Kyle Van Noy, C.J. Mosley, Taylor Lewan, Dee Ford, Kony Ealy, and Justin Gilbert. Tennessee needs to make use of these draft picks considering the talent this year. If Tennessee wants to be a team other teams dread playing they need to start with their defense!!! They need to draft a defensive player on the first round and again in the fourth. Tennessee is also meeting with Pollard and Verner at the combine to discuss contracts. This is going to be a big weekend for the Titans as they head into March when free agency starts, March 11th to be exact.
This year’s 2014 NFL Draft is full of talent just waiting to be drafted. So the question is who will find the gem of the draft? As in, who will draft the player who will have the most success in the NFL. The draft consist of players like: Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney, Sammy Watkins, Jake Matthews, Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr, among others. With many teams needing great, young players to step in right away and make an impact they have a great chance to find that player this year.
I believe the player who will have the most success will be wide receiver Sammy Watkins from Clemson. Whoever drafts this talent will find themselves with the gem of the draft. Watkins is an amazing athlete with a huge future ahead of him. Watkins could play special teams along with wide receiver. He’s extremely fast and has great hands. Watkins was very explosive at Clemson. Teams couldn’t slow him down. Watkins senior stats were quite impressive. He caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Watkins dominating teams with his speed and skill:
Look for Watkins to be Rookie of the Year and most likely getting a Pro Bowl bid his first year. Sammy Watkins will be in the Sports Center top 10 throughout his long career. Since Watkins is definitely going to be gone in the top 10, possibly the top 5, these are the teams that could draft him: Houston Texans, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Oakland, or Atlanta. I don’t see Watkins slipping out of the top 6. If I was to make a prediction about who will draft Sammy Watkins it would be the St. Louis Rams at number 2.