The New Orleans Saints are at a pivotal juncture in their pursuit of NFL relevance. With the 2024 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, the Saints have the opportunity to bolster their roster and address remaining gaps through free agency. As the team strives to build on the foundation laid during the draft, strategic acquisitions could be the difference between another year of mediocrity and a return to playoff glory. Identifying the right free agents is crucial. The Saints must act swiftly and decisively to secure free agents who can make a difference in 2024.

Reflecting on the 2023 Season

The 2023 season marked the New Orleans Saints' second season under head coach Dennis Allen. The team showed improvement over their 7-10 record from 2022 but still missed the playoffs for the third consecutive year. The Saints ended the season tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the NFC South division title and were part of a three-way tie with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks for the final Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, the Saints lost both tiebreakers.

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Saints selected a balanced mix of immediate contributors and developmental prospects, including Taliese Fuaga, Kool-Aid McKinstry, and Spencer Rattler. While there are concerns about developing raw talent and addressing all positional needs, the Saints have laid a solid foundation for future success. This draft class addresses immediate gaps and builds a promising base for long-term improvement, marking a pivotal step in the team’s ongoing quest to return to championship contention.

Taysom Hill next to Rashid Shaheed

Here we'll look at the three free agent players whom the New Orleans Saints must target after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Dalvin Cook, RB

The Saints' running game has long been a cornerstone of their offensive strategy. However, in recent seasons, it has lacked the punch necessary to dominate. Alvin Kamara remains a dynamic playmaker, but the team needs a powerful complement to maximize their ground attack. Enter Dalvin Cook. He brings a blend of power, speed, and vision that could transform the Saints' rushing offense. Cook's ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact would provide the Saints with a reliable option to wear down defenses and control the clock. Pairing Cook with Kamara would create one of the most formidable backfields in the NFL. This would give Allen the flexibility to design a more versatile and explosive offense. Cook's presence would also take pressure off the passing game. That would create more opportunities for play-action passes and deep shots down the field.

Marcus Peters, CB

The Saints' secondary has been a point of concern. As such, bolstering this unit is essential for a successful 2024 campaign. Marcus Peters, a seasoned and talented cornerback, would be a perfect addition to the Saints' defensive backfield. Known for his ball-hawking skills and aggressive style of play, Peters can change the complexion of a game with his interceptions and pass breakups. His experience and leadership would be invaluable to a young secondary that struggled with consistency last season. Pairing Peters with Marshon Lattimore would give the Saints a formidable cornerback duo. They would be capable of shutting down the league's top receiving threats. Peters' presence would also allow the defense to have reliable coverage on the back end.

Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE

Chicago Bears defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (91) reacts after the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A dominant pass rush is crucial for any defense aiming to disrupt opposing quarterbacks and create turnovers. Sure, the Saints have some talent on the defensive line. Still, adding a proven edge rusher like Yannick Ngakoue could elevate the entire unit. Ngakoue has consistently been one of the NFL's most dangerous pass rushers. He is known for his ability to get to the quarterback and force fumbles. His quick first step and relentless motor would provide an immediate boost to the Saints' pass rush. He would create more opportunities for sacks and pressures. Ngakoue's presence would also benefit the interior defensive linemen and linebackers. Opposing offenses would need to account for his disruptive abilities on the edge. This added pressure would likely lead to more hurried throws and turnovers, giving the Saints' offense more opportunities to score.

Looking Ahead

In summary, the Saints have a golden opportunity to strengthen their roster and address key weaknesses through free agency. Dalvin Cook would provide a dynamic and powerful complement to Alvin Kamara. That would revitalize the running game and open up the offense. Marcus Peters would bring experience, leadership, and playmaking ability to a secondary in need of stability and consistency. Yannick Ngakoue's pass-rushing prowess would elevate the defensive line and create more opportunities for turnovers. By targeting these three free agents, the Saints can position themselves as serious contenders in the NFC. They can make a strong push for the playoffs in the 2024 season. With the right moves, the Saints can turn the page on a disappointing 2023 campaign and set their sights on a return to glory.