The upcoming offseason is filled with uncertainty for the New Orleans Saints and it begins with the impending free agency of Drew Brees. Besides the looming decision of Brees, free agency will be an important period for the Saints this offseason.
Over the years, we’ve all grown accustomed to New Orleans being a juggernaut in the NFC with Sean Payton as the head coach and Brees under center. Despite being an unrestricted free agent, it is extremely likely that Brees returns to the Saints for his 20th season in the NFL.
With Brees not getting any younger, the window for the Saints to win with him under center is closing. Provided that, the front office is going to attempt to reload their roster for another playoff run in 2020.
However, New Orleans enters the offseason with only $12.5 million in cap space per Spotrac. We’ve seen teams manufacture cap space by restructuring contracts so there’s still a chance that the Saints have more money to spend in the coming months.
In the event that they do, the team has a few needs that will need to be addressed. Here are the three early free agency targets for the Saints this offseason.
3. Jimmy Smith (CB, Baltimore Ravens)
Over the course of the season, it was evident that New Orleans was in need of some help in the secondary. Near the end of the regular season, the team signed Janoris Jenkins in hopes he could help fix the issues with the pass defense.
But after claiming Jenkins off of waivers, he is a cap hit of $11.25 million in 2020 and would free up nearly $12 million in cap space if he was released. Given that, someone like Jimmy Smith is an intriguing option for New Orleans.
Smith has spent the past nine seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and is still a viable cornerback. Most importantly, Smith would be a cheap option for the Saints to fill a position of need.
2. Danny Amendola (WR, Detroit Lions)
It goes without saying that the biggest need for the Saints is at the wide receiver position. While Michael Thomas put together a historic campaign in 2019, New Orleans doesn’t have anyone else that strikes fear in a defense.
Even though he wouldn’t strike fear in anybody, Danny Amendola makes a ton of sense for the Saints. This past season, Amendola was with the Detroit Lions and was playing with no-name quarterbacks when Matthew Stafford was out with injury.
Despite the quarterback conundrum, Amendola still produced 62 receptions for 678 yards and one touchdown. The addition of Amendola would give New Orleans’ offense a reliable target out of the slot.
1. Emmanuel Sanders (WR, San Francisco 49ers)
Again, the Saints are in dire need of aiding Brees with more wide receivers in 2020. Considering that, New Orleans will have their choice of veteran wide receivers in free agency.
During the regular season, the Saints were looking to acquire someone ahead of the trade deadline. The one rumored target for them was Emmanuel Sanders of the Denver Broncos. However, the Saints chose to stay with the status quo and the San Francisco 49ers landed Sanders.
Depending on his asking price, the Saints could lure Sanders to New Orleans in 2020. In 2019, Sanders combined for 66 catches, 869 yards, and five touchdowns.