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Kristian: List of Saints set to become free agents

Kristian Garic
January 25, 2019 - 6:39 am
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Twenty two Saints players are scheduled to become free agents when the new league year starts on March 13th.  Here’s the list.

Running back Mark Ingram:  Is perhaps the biggest name on the list of soon to be free agents.  He’s 29 and going on his third contract.  For a running back that is no man’s land.  Ingram has been a big part of the Saints rushing attack with Alvin Kamara.  He averages 4.5 yards per carry in his career and is 89 yards shy of becoming the Saints all-time leading rusher.  I don’t see the Saints giving Ingram the money he might get on the open market, especially for a back that is approaching 30 years old. 

Here are the rest in alphabetical order...

Safety Chris Banjo:  He’s 28 and a big part of the Saints special teams units.  Banjo can spot play in certain situations in the secondary.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater:  Will be highly sought after in free agency.  He has played in the NFL as a starter and at a Pro Bowl level with the Vikings.  The Saints traded a 2019 third round pick to the Jets just before the start of the season to get Bridgewater.  Bridgewater’s current contract voids on March 3rd, thus allowing him to talk to teams before the actual league year begins ten days later.  With a handful of QB needy teams out there Bridgewater looking at a favorable market and might prove difficult for the Saints to re-sign.

Defensive tackle Jay Bromley:  Bromley made the Saints final roster out of training camp but landed on injured reserved after tearing his bicep in week two of the season.

Offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod:  Proved a valuable signing last free agency period.  Bushrod filled in for an injured Terron Armstead at left tackle for five games and played very well.  He started his career in New Orleans in 2007, and might want to continue playing.  If Bushrod wants to continue, I can see the Saints bringing him back on a 1 year contract.

Cornerback Ken Crawley:  Is scheduled to become a restricted free agent.  That means the Saints have first negotiating rights with Crawley and have to decide which level of compensation they will give him.  The Saints will likely offer him the lowest tender which is right around $2 million dollars.  The once capable starter was replaced this season, when the Saints traded for CB Eli Apple.

Defensive tackle Tyeler Davison:  Does all the dirty work on the Saints defense.  His stats won’t wow you, but that’s a good thing for the Saints.  His price likely won’t be very high and Davison one of the players the Saints are definitely interested in bringing back.

Tight End Michael Hoomanawanui:  Missed the entire season on injured reserved after several concussions. 

Running Back Daniel Lasco:  Will be a restricted free agent.  Lasco’s time in New Orleans has been marred by injury.  He’s had concussions and missed the entire season due to a spinal injury from 2017.  The Saints could see some value in bringing him back.

Wide Receiver Tommylee Lewis:  Is a restricted free agent.  Lewis was involved in the controversial “no call” in the NFC championship game against the Rams.  He was the intended target on the play.  Lewis will likely be back, as he provide the Saints will some value as a punt returner.

Kicker Wil Lutz:  Is coming off a sensational season.  When the Saints signed Lutz three seasons ago, he struggled with kick projection and accuracy.  This season he was outstanding, making 28 of 30 field goals setting a franchise record.  I would expect the Saints to sign him to a long term contract.

Offensive lineman Michael Ola:  Is another backup offensive lineman who provides quality depth.

Linebacker Craig Robertson:  A fan favorite for his energy.  He’s a Special Teams captain and a guy who can play for you on defense when called upon.  I think the team wants him back.

Linebacker Manti Te’o:  Was a healthy inactive for half the season.  He’s a limited two down linebacker who is really good in the running game, but can be exposed in the passing game.  I don’t see him returning to the Saints.

Cornerback P.J. Williams:  Proved to be a valuable slot cornerback in 2018, after Patrick Robinson was lost for the season in week two.  P.J might have a market in free agency the Saints can’t match.

Offensive Guard Josh LeRibeus:  LeRibeus filled in at guard for an injured Andrus Peat early in the season.  He suffered an ankle injury and ended the season on injured reserve.  The Saints like him a lot and could decide to move Andrus Peat this off-season and install LeRibeus as the full time starter.

Keep in mind the Saints also might want to lock up WR Michael Thomas to a long term contract this off-season.  That could alter some of their plans with other players.

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