There is a quote from the MCU movie Doctor Strange about the cost of magic: “Yes, we did it. No price to pay…the bill comes due.” Such as it is in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints over the past few seasons have spent their money, stripped themselves of cap space and flexibility in an effort to win immediately.

By all accounts, to be fair, they have spent it well! But Drew Brees is retiring with no clear solution for a replacement in sight, they have one of the highest-paid rosters in the NFL, and have had to let go of several key pieces in free agency just to keep their most important flagships.

The bill comes due.

With any luck, however, head coach Sean Payton can most likely make whatever he has on the roster work. It's not all bad, after all. Alvin Kamara is arguably one of the best running backs in the league, and they still have cheap enough talent at that position to run the committee style Payton likes. The receiving cupboard is a little bare after Cook, Hill, and Sanders have gone, but Michael Thomas's lower-body injuries have nothing to do with his amazing hands. Taysom Hill is still a fine gadget quarterback who did well in Payton's system, and Jameis Winston is only a few years removed from being a top pick.

As of right now, the Saints can't afford to build for the future. They need pieces that are ready to win, and win now. For their needs, losing Trey Hendrickson to the Cincinnati Bengals stings, but Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport are a fine starting duo at the top of the DE depth chart. Adam Trautman is young as a TE and the departures of Jared Cook and Josh Hill can't be ignored, but New Orleans made a savvy move by adding veteran Nick Vannett to buy Trautman some development time. They brought back the two safeties that are set to start this coming season, and the Williamses, PJ and Marcus, are both brilliant keepers.

That leaves needs at linebacker, the interior defensive line, and cornerback. Now, the Saints don't have a lot of linebacking help, especially with Alex Anzalone gone. But, they have seven names under contract at least for the next season. At the very least, Demario Davis is certified, as is Kwon Alexander with some time to get healthy. Zack Baun also has a lot of room to develop, as well. For the defensive line, the absences of Malcolm Brown and Sheldon Rankins are definitely felt, but Onyemata and Tuttle can hold down the fort just fine.

No, what the Saints need help with the most is at cornerback. Janoris Jenkins is gone, and Marshawn Lattimore is still in New Orleans for just another year, with his current legal trouble, there is no way to know if the Saints will even have anyone of note starting at the position at all. PJ Williams is a fine multi-position threat, but the Saints already have a need for him at safety. Grant Haley and Keith Washington, Jr. have never played any significant time, so right now the Saints have one legitimate, locked-in option at safety day-to-day in Patrick Robinson.

Not good. The good news is that there are some cheap options available in either free agency or the draft. Richard Sherman is a vet who could command less and less money as free agency goes on without him getting signed. Bashaud Breeland is a great under-the-radar signing for a Super Bowl-winning cover. Asante Samuel, Jr. of FSU is projected to go right where the Saints want him in the draft.

Breeland and the draft will be New Orleans' best bets to grab someone at safety that could add at least a body or two to the secondary. Sherman might still ask too much on name recognition alone, which is the key here. If the Saints could afford to spend any more money than they have over the past few years, they would have and should have been in the free-agent mix early. Hell, it stands to reason that Janoris Jenkins would be back wearing the black and gold for another year or more.

But the Saints have spent, and the bill is due.