Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saints Nation: Uncapped Season Not Making the Saints Any Favors

When the idea of an uncapped season continued to approach as a very real possibility, I assumed this meant the Saints' offseason would suffer significantly. Being in a small market like New Orleans, I assumed the Saints couldn't hang with the heavy spending Jerry Jones', Dan Snyder's, Bob Kraft's and other rich owners of the world. I figured free agency would become a spending spree that dwarfed previous offseason outputs. Surprisingly, though, there hasn't been any astronomical contracts handed out besides that of Julius Peppers' ridiculous gift from the Bears. Sure, there's your fair share of head scratchers, like the Browns giving Jake Delhomme $7 million next year, but overall free agency has been remarkably quiet. Owners are taking advantage of this financial freedom to cut back on spending. Given the current state of the economy, this makes sense. The contract scale for unproven rookies are getting beyond exorbitant these days, in fact they're obscene.

So while the Saints haven't been hampered nearly as much as I could have predicted by the wide open spending market, the final eight rule that was implemented in this uncapped year has handicapped them severely. The rule is, simply put, that the Saints cannot sign an unrestricted free agent unless they lose one. They lost Scott Fujita to the Browns earlier this month, so that means Mickey Loomis (pictured) has the luxury of signing one whooping unrestricted free agent. Granted this doesn't include players with recently terminated contracts (Tomlinson and Delhomme, for example), but most of those guys are less desirable in general because obviously they weren't worth keeping around for their previous teams. The thing is, those rejected players are MORE desirable to the Saints because they don't count against their ability to sign free agents. Sure the Saints aren't interested in a major overhaul anyway, but it really makes it tougher on them to replace lost starters in Fujita and Charles Grant. Should they lose Darren Sharper, that would give them another opportunity to sign a new player, but it also leaves them with another glaring hole on defense. So get used to this long and uneventful offseason and hope the Saints can retain as many of their pieces as possible, because replacing them will be harder than ever.