QB Drew Brees and Safety Jairus Byrd Both Have Contract Guarantees Kick In

Saints quarterback Drew Brees and safety Jairus Byrd, who have two of the biggest contracts on the team, have contract guarantees that kick in Wednesday, the third day of the waiver period, Katherine Terrell of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Six million of Byrd’s $7.4 million 2016 base salary becomes guaranteed on Wednesday.

The Saints would also be on the hook for the remaining prorated portion of his signing bonus were they to cut him this spring, which would accelerate into this year’s salary cap. Although Byrd was paid his signing bonus upfront, for salary cap purposes, $11.4 million of the bonus remains on the books.

Additionally, $10.85 million of Brees’ $19.75 million 2016 base salary becomes guaranteed on Wednesday. In the long run, that doesn’t mean much, as the Saints have already professed that they expect him to be their quarterback going into next season.

However, the Saints likely will try to find some cap relief with Brees’ contract, which has one year remaining and carries a $30 million hit to the salary cap. The most likely option is an extension which would spread out the money over a few years.

Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe Accepts Pay Cut

Saints linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has accepted a pay cut to stay with the team according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.

Ellerbe was scheduled to earn $4.3 million in salary and bonuses and count $5.9 million against the cap this upcoming season. There was no way he was going to stay in New Orleans at that price.

Acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins along with a 2015 third-round draft pick last March in exchange for wide receiver Kenny Stills, Ellerbee showed some promise in his first year with the Saints but played in only six games due to injuries. He turned 30 in November and clearly his best football is behind him. Even with the pay cut, it would not be a huge surprise if Ellerbe is not on the 2016 opening game roster.

Loomis Says Brees Will Be Back Under Center for the Saints in 2016

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis promised Thursday that Drew Brees would remain the team’s quarterback, but he didn’t reveal any details of expected offseason contract negotiations, Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Brees is under contract for 2016, but his $30 million hit against the salary cap could be reduced if the contract is extended.

“I know this: Drew’s going to be our quarterback,” Loomis said. “We’ll figure out how we’re going to handle the contract, whether it stays the same and just remains right in place, or whether we do something different. That’s all part of what we’ve got to figure out in the coming weeks.”

Loomis said the Saints’ precarious cap situation doesn’t necessarily require that Brees’ contract be extended.

“I keep reading how we’re in dire straits with the cap and this, that and the other,” Loomis said. “It’s not a great cap situations, but it’s not as dire as sometimes I think it’s painted out to be. We know where we’re at, we know what we have to do.”

Saints vs Falcons NFL Week 17 Inactives

Saints inactives: QB Garrett Grayson, TE RaShaun Allen, DT Kaleb Eulls, OTs Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat, WR Marques Colston and LB Dannell Ellerbe

Falcons inactives: RB Tevin Coleman, DE Malliciah Goodman, OLB Tyler Starr, T Bryce Harris, TE D.J. Tialavea, G Ben Garland, S Robenson Therezie

Saints Fire DC Rob Ryan Following Latest Awful Outing Against Redskins

Earlier in the day on Monday Saints head coach Sean Payton said at that time no changes had been made in the coaching staff.

Little did he know he’d have to change his tune a few hours later.

The Saints have fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, this on the heels of allowing a Redskins season high 47 points Sunday in an embarrassing 47-14 loss in D.C.

FOX Sports first reported the news of the Ryan firing, which was a long time coming if you’ve watched much of the Saints and their defense the last two years.

Ryan took over the 4th ranked defense in New Orleans in 2013, and basically trying to make it better along with Payton and the front office have gone nothing but backwards the last two years.

The Saints woke up today with the 32nd ranked defense in the league, allowing 424.7 yards per game, 293 yards through the air per game, and 131 yards per game on the ground.

Some of the players that were brought in to help that clearly haven’t include Jairus Byrd, who inked a six-year, $54 million deal back in 2014 and Brandon Browner, who signed a three-year deal in free agency this year.

In Washington Sunday the Saints allowed 324 yards and four touchdowns to Kirk Cousins, a QB that had not thrown more than one touchdown in any game this season until yesterday.

Sunday the Saints became the first team in NFL history to allow four touchdown passes and no interceptions three weeks in a row (Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota and Cousins).

Awful, and probably overdue for a change, which finally will take place now that it’s the bye week and the team has a chance to take a step back and breathe.

Saints Slammed by Cousins and the Redskins 47-14

The Saints defense continued to be awful, and because of it, the team has now lost two in a row after looking at one point to be back in the thick of the NFL race.

Sunday in Washington, they allowed Redskins QB Kirk Cousins to put up a perfect QB rating of 158.3 to lead the Redskins past the Saints 47-14.

Cousins did whatever he wanted against the overmatched Saints secondary, throwing for 324 yards, three scores and zero interceptions on 20-for-25 passing.

”When you’re in the zone and things are going really well, you’re just playing and your mind is free and you’re not allowing things to inhibit your play,” Cousins said.

Cousins hit big plays all over the place, hitting for scores of 78 yards to running back Matt Jones, 16 and 8 yards to tight end Jordan Reed, and 11 yards to receiver Jamison Crowder.

Saints QB Drew Brees went 19 for 28 for 201 yards, two first-half TD passes to Brandin Cooks and two fourth-quarter interceptions. Otherwise the Saints defense never gave them a chance for a win.

”There wasn’t a lot, I’m sure, that we (are) going to look at on that tape that we’re not going to be disappointed in,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.

When asked about changes during the bye week for the Saints, Peyton said ”we’re not going to discuss any of those type of changes, certainly not right now.”

Sunday’s numbers brought the totals for New Orleans’ past three opponents to 130 points and more than 1,400 yards; it’s the most points the Saints have allowed in a single-season three-game span in team history, according to STATS.

”We can’t allow this to keep happening,” safety Kenny Vaccaro said.

Sadly the Saints defense needs to do something. They can’t stop the pass against anyone, and when their offense doesn’t score 30 or more points, they just don’t win.

Once the bye is over the Saints will be at Houston on the 29th of November.

Saints vs Redskins NFL Wednesday Injury Report

Practice Report
  Wednesday T Terron Armstead (knee), WR Marques Colston (not injury related), CB Brian Dixon (hip), LB Dannell Ellerbe (hip), G Jahri Evans (not injury related), LB David Hawthorne (hamstring), LB Ramon Humber (hamstring), CB Damian Swann (concussion), DT Kevin Williams (not injury related)
  Wednesday LB Hau’oli Kikaha (ankle), G Tim Lelito (shoulder), WR Willie Snead (knee)
Practice Report
  Wednesday DE Jason Hatcher (knee), LB Keenan Robinson (shoulder, neck)
  Wednesday CB Chris Culliver (knee), S Dashon Goldson (wrist, hamstring), CB DeAngelo Hall (toe), WR Andre Roberts (ankle)
  Wednesday CB Bashaud Breeland (hamstring), LB Ryan Kerrigan (hand), DT Terrance Knighton (migraine), C Josh LeRibeus (elbow, shoulder), RB Chris Thompson (back)

Saints Crumble in Overtime to the Titans 34-28

Tennessee Titans v New Orleans Saints

The Saints defense was back to being awful on Sunday, allowing nearly 500 yards to a one-win a team, and because of it the Saints lost to Tennessee 34-28 in overtime.

Marcus Mariota and the Titans were too much, as the rookie QB threw for for a personal-best 371 yards and four touchdowns, including a 5-yard scoring pass to Anthony Fasano for the win.

”Obviously, when you lose like that in overtime, it leaves a sour taste in your mouth,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. ”It was a game, despite the imperfections and how we played, we had a chance still at the end and we weren’t able to execute.”

Mariota hit on 28 of 39 passes, and was quick and played a great game for a guy who has missed time.

Drew Brees was 28 of 39 for 387 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored on a short keeper, but it wasn’t enough for them to keep up their winning ways.

Brees was sacked three times and intercepted on a third-quarter pass to the end zone that was intended for Mark Ingram on a throw that he shouldn’t have made.

Both teams missed go-ahead field goal attempts in the last two minutes of regulation that could have put them ahead.

Ryan Succop for the Titans hit the cross bar on a 55-yard try that would have been a career long. Then Kai Forbath, who a week earlier had kicked a game-winning field goal, had his 46-yard attempt partially blocked by Coty Sensabaugh.

”When you lose the turnover battle, which we did today, when you can’t execute a simple field goal, it’s going to be up and down,” Payton said. ”To get that consistency that we’re looking for, we’re going to have to be better in a lot of areas.”

It’s an awful loss, even more since you were at home and had already overcome an 0-3 start this season.

The Saints play at Washington next week vs the Redskins.