Previewing the 2014 New Orleans Saints Schedule Release

Drew Brees

Sean Payton returned in 2014 and suddenly the New Orleans Saints were back to being, well, the New Orleans Saints. While they can still sling it with just about anyone, they appear to be trying to get more balanced on offense, while getting stingier on defense. If both ring true in 2014, the Saints could easily remain in the mix for the NFC South division title and a playoff spot.

 

The New Orleans Saints schedule looks dangerous on paper for this upcoming season, especially at home. It’s funny to say that, too, considering New Orleans was a perfect 8-0 on their home turf a year ago and the Saints are always known for locking down their own stadium. That could be a little tougher this year, though, as the Saints welcome Green Bay, Minnesota, San Francisco, Baltimore and Cincinnati and naturally also welcome division rivals, Atlanta, Carolina and Tampa Bay.

 

Oddly enough, the Saints have it somewhat easier on the road, as they have to travel to Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Overall, the Saints still have a brutal schedule for 2014 and will need to be as good as they were last year (if not better) to have a shot at their division.

 

For a look at all team’s 2014 match-ups, click here.

Saints Come To Terms With CB Champ Bailey On Two-Year Deal

Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks v Denver Broncos

The Saints have signed 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey to a two-year deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. This according to a source.

Bailey was release by the Denver Broncos earlier in the offseason.

Sproles Still Being Shopped; Thomas Extended

Sproles

Written By: Florida Bengal

The NFL world was shocked to hear that the New Orleans Saints were shopping Darren Sproles around the league and it’s since been confirmed that his time in New Orleans has come to an end.

While no trade has been agreed to, word on the street is that a number of teams are interested in the explosive back. ESPN reports that both Sproles and Pierre Thomas were on the market, but with Sproles’ interest, the team elected to continue shopping him while re-upping Thomas with a two-year contract extension.

Sproles’ numbers dropped to their lowest totals in his three-year Saints career last season as the team rotated running backs Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson with the nine-year veteran. Even so, at age 30, Sproles still averaged 4.2 yards per carry on 53 totes with 71 catches for 604 yards and four total touchdowns last season.

The Saints, however, have decided that the running back, due $3.5 million this season, is expendable and are looking for the best deal they can get.

The back has said he’d rather be released than traded but with the Saints keeping him into the new league year (which began at 4 p.m. ETTuesday), they will most certainly trade the back.

Jairus Bryd To Visit With Saints

byrd

Things remain quiet for both the New Orleans Saints and safety Jairus Byrd while the frenzy of free agency is taking place. However, I should mention that Byrd and the Saints have a scheduled visit  that will be taking place at some point on Tuesday.

The Saints have a heavy need at safety after releasing safety Roman Harper and losing Malcolm Jenkins today to the Philadelphia Eagles. In the end, it will depend if the Saints can afford Byrd. The three-time All-Pro could be expecting a nice pay day that the Saints may not be able to afford.

If the Saints can afford Byrd, he would be starting next to Kenny Vaccaro, and that could arguably be the league’s best safety duo.

Right now, it’s way too early to get into those types of thoughts as there is no indication of a deal happening or being negotiated, but it will be here if it does happen.

Brandon Sweeney is Co-Editor of the Gab Network. Follow him on Twitter @NFLNSTUFF, Like him on Facebook , add him to Google+, and Trust him on Sulia.

Salary Cap Blues

In all my years of following the Saints, this might be the toughest off season I’ve ever seen. It’s been hard to watch some of my favorite players get released but at the end of the day it’s life in the NFL. I wasn’t surprised when the word came down that they had released Smith, Greer and Vilma, but long time NFL fans new that it wouldn’t end there.

Darren Sproles and Lance Moore became the latest victims this week. Whenever Sproles was on the field all eyes were on a player that at any time could break the game loose with his speed and quickness. Lance Moore was one of those players whose work ethic and personality made him a fan favorite.

Decisions like these have to be made and they are never easy. The decision to let these guys go must have been agonizing for Loomis and company who brought both of the players to the Saints. Sproles was a prize finding and turned out to be one of the best free agent signings in recent memory. Moore was an un-drafted signee who came in and worked his way onto the team and into the fans hearts.

In reading the comments in the articles that have been written a lot of people are blaming Brees contract and search to find money for Graham’s contract. The thing is there are a lot of teams that have player’s with big contracts and they have the same struggle the Saints are going through, finding the money to pay everybody. Unfortunately it sometimes cant’ be done and tough decisions have to be made.

At the end of the day it all boils down to who the Saints have to put on the field when the next season starts. Loomis and Payton have been good at doing it for the Saints for a long time. This year they will have to be better than good.

WhoDat

Bill Stephens, SaintsGab writer, Follow Saints Gab on twitter @SaintsGab

The Top 20 New Orleans Saints Of All-Time

Joe Horn

The Saints have had quite a run the past few seasons, overcoming a suspension for a season to their head coach, and even beating Peyton Manning and the Colts for their first World Title in the 2009 season.

It’s always fun to look back, and today we give our opinion about what players deserve to be on the list for the “Top 20 Saints of All-Time.”

I’m sure there may be some back and forth on the subject, so feel free to leave a comment with what changes you would like to make to our Top 20 list.

Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Saints To Place Franchise Tag On Jimmy Graham

How should the tight end be paid? As a tight end or wide receiver?

The Saints will be placing the franchise tag, as expected, on TE Jimmy Graham, before Monday’s deadline.

It’s a move that isn’t going to sit well with Graham, and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, and the TE will likely file a grievance through the players’ association, asking that Graham be considered a receiver because he lined up out wide or in the slot on 67 percent of his snaps last season.

It is a difference that is going to be a huge difference in money, as the tags for tight ends and receivers are expected to be about $6.7 million and $11.5 million.

In just four seasons Graham has been one of the best pass catchers in the league at whatever position he plays, pulling in 301 receptions for 3,863 yards and 41 touchdowns.

He caught 16 touchdowns last season for the wild card Saints.

Saints Looking To Keep Around RT Zach Strief

Zach Strief

Saints right tackle Zach Strief is coming off possibly his best season in the NFL.

So it shouldn’t be a major surprise that there’s mutual interest in Strief returning to the Saints as the team chatted with Strief’s agent Ralph Cindrich at the NFL Scouting Combine about a new contract, Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports. This according to reports.

Strief turns 31 in September and will become an unrestricted free agent if he’s not re-signed by March 11.

He’s coming off his third season as the team’s starting right tackle and has said earlier this offseason he feels like this next contract will probably be his last in the NFL. He would want nothing more than to remain with the team that drafted him in the seventh round in 2006.

The Saints view Strief as a high priority in free agency, but making any free agent deal happen right now would be difficult. New Orleans sits nearly $5 million under the projected salary cap of $130 million.

With starting players like tight end Jimmy Graham, safety Malcolm Jenkins and center Brian de la Puente as other potential free agents, finding room to land Strief and everyone else will be quite the challenge.