Friday, May 15, 2009

Saints Nation: What the Saints' plans for Jamar Nesbit?

Entering his 11th year in the NFL, Jamar Nesbit has been a solid veteran offensive lineman throughout his career. Nesbit is entering his 5th season as a Saint, and his chances of making the team seem more in doubt than ever. Nesbit is known for his leadership and locker room presence. He earned his way into the NFL the hard way as an undrafted free agent and began his career as a back up on the three teams he played for (Carolina, Jacksonville, and New Orleans) before working his way into the starting lineup based on the impression he made on his coaches. The current Saints regime rewarded his performance with a 3 year contract extension in 2008, as they believed he would continue to hold down the starting spot at left guard.

Many of you are reading about the Starcaps case as a decision on the possible 4 game suspensions of Charles Grant, Will Smith and former Saint Deuce McAlliser looms. What some don't remember is Jamar Nesbit was a part of that group that tested positive for the same water pill. The difference between Nesbit and the rest of the players mentioned above is Nesbit accepted his 4 game suspension last season without appealing. While hindsight can be 20/20, Nesbit's current in flux status can very much be attributed to that decision to not fight the suspension. Thrust into the starting lineup in Nesbit's stead, 5th round rookie out of Nebraska Carl Nicks played admirably while filling in. He played so well, in fact, that Nesbit never regained his spot upon his return from suspension.

Given the Saints current cap situation, they are not in a place where they can afford pricey backups. Unfortunately for Nesbit, this could potentially leave his roster spot in jeopardy. While having him would be a nice luxury as a backup because he's a player of starting quality that also has the versatility of playing many other positions along the offensive line, it remains to be seen if it will work financially. Assuming Nicks and incumbent right guard Jahri Evans don't get injured or suffer a severe drop in form, Nesbit is blocked from returning to the 5 man line-up charged with being security detail for Drew Brees. If the players in the Starcaps case end up exonerated, accepting that suspension without appeal could have been the biggest mistake of Nesbit's career. Time will tell, but the Saints would be well advised to find a way to hang on to this player.