Friday, May 8, 2009

Saints Nation: Doubtful Edgerrin James and Mike McKenzie will be with Saints

Between Drew Rosenhaus' twitter page which claims the Saints have interest in bringing back Mike McKenzie and the swirling NFL rumors that the Saints may sign Edgerrin James, it looks like the roster tinkering may be far from over. The Times-Picayune disagrees with either player joining the roster, though, as Mike Triplett wrote THIS ARTICLE about McKenzie and Brian-Allee Walsh wrote THIS ARTICLE about James. In the end I agree on both accounts; I just don't see the Saints signing either player.

At first thought I wondered, "man it would be great to cut Jason David and re-sign a healthy McKenzie at a cap friendly figure". On second thought, though, David is 26 and McKenzie is 33. While McKenzie has had a more accomplished career by about a factor of 50, David is still young enough that he could improve. Perhaps Gregg Williams will be able to utilize his strengths without exposing him the way the Gary Gibbs scheme did so often. At 33, McKenzie might only have a good year or two left in him, and with the number of promising young corners on the Saints roster it's time to turn the page. I just feel like if the Saints had any intention of retaining McKenzie they would have tried to re-structured his deal instead of releasing him, thus giving him a chance to get healthy and fight for a roster spot in training camp. The Mickey Loomis quote that they've left the door open for a possible return, in my opinion, is a lip service comment based on respect he has for McKenzie and the fan popularity he's amassed. You have to play nice when you release players that have served you well.

The Edgerrin James possibility just seems even less likely. His performance the last couple years hasn't been that impressive, he's the same age as Deuce McAllister, and he's dealt with similar injuries in the past. James' gripe with the Cardinals was the lack of carries he got in their offense. In New Orleans, he'd have Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush ahead of him on the depth chart and based on the Saints salary cap situation he'd be playing for a song. He had 133 carries last year, and as a #3 running back for a pass happy team he'd never get close to those kind of reps with the Saints. I just can't picture James beating out Pierre Thomas as the primary ball carrier and I think he'll become a distraction as a backup that's not playing that much. The Saints aren't stupid and this is a concern for them as well, so they'll give Herb Donaldson, Lynell Hamilton and P.J. Hill every chance to prove themselves in training camp before they move to sign someone like James.

The more I think about these two speculative moves, the less I believe they'll happen. If, God forbid, Pierre Thomas and Randall Gay (or Jabari Greer) go down in training camp with season ending injuries... then sure, that changes everything. Until then, don't expect the Saints to sign either of these guys. Barring something unforseen, I believe the Saints are primed for a playoff run with the current roster, and I wasn't convinced of that this time last year. GEAUX SAINTS.