The New Orleans Saints had a pretty forgettable 2022-23 season. They won just seven games and missed the playoff bus in the NFC. Despite the fact that the start of free agency is still a few weeks away, it is likely that general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Dennis Allen have already begun compiling a list of potential targets. Simply told, the Saints still need more depth and support on both sides of the ball. Here we’ll look at five sneaky good NFL free agents whom the Saints must consider signing in the 2023 offseason.
If the Saints want to return to the playoffs in 2023, they have a lot of work to do. They must identify the ideal free agency targets to boost their outlook for 2023. This is even though we all know that the NFL Draft is the greatest approach to achieving long-term success. Keep in mind that the Saints won’t be able to pay top dollar for any of the available players since they are currently in salary cap hell. Nonetheless, there are several inexpensive players who could enhance the team’s near-term prospects.
There is obviously a lot to cover between the 2023 NFL Draft, a hectic free agency signing period, and more offseason activities. It will be difficult for Saints fans to closely follow all the developments with their club while they seek for a new quarterback and fill in their other needs. Take note as well that this team will attempt to end a two-year postseason drought.
Let’s look at five sneaky good free agents whom the Saints must sign in the offseason.
5. QB Baker Mayfield
Not too long ago, the Saints showed interest in Baker Mayfield during the 2018 NFL Draft and are now a team to watch in free agency. Mayfield, who was the first overall pick by the Cleveland Browns, had a promising start to his career. Remember that he threw for 27 touchdowns in his rookie season. However, he struggled with injuries in the following seasons and has also ranked poorly in most quarterback statistics. After a short stint with the Carolina Panthers, he ended the 2022 season with the Los Angeles Rams due to an injury to Matthew Stafford. Now, Mayfield could be in the mix in New Orleans. Yes, the Saints are aiming for a Derek Carr signing, but if that falls through, Mayfield wouldn’t be the worst choice out there.
4. EDGE Justin Houston
The Saints will require a new pass rusher if Marcus Davenport leaves in free agency. Former great Justin Houston, who just completed a 9.5-sack season with the Baltimore Ravens, is the one best suited for the position. The four-time Pro Bowler can still pursue opposing quarterbacks despite his relatively advanced age. That also means he ought to be inexpensive. Remember that teams are hesitant to make significant investments on older players. Houston is now 34 and is certainly far nearer to the end of his career than the beginning. Recall that he signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Ravens last year. The Saints should definitely go ahead and sign him if they can do so for a comparable price in order to get yet another outstanding pass rusher.
Justin Houston has 6.5 sacks in his last 3 games 👏 pic.twitter.com/0PmFGku3Pk
— NFL (@NFL) November 8, 2022
3. DE A’Shawn Robinson
The Saints will undoubtedly require a new defensive line starter because free agents like the aforementioned Davenport, David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, and Tanoh Kpassagnon are all available. Enter the Rams’ A’Shawn Robinson, who is a powerful inside defender perhaps wanting to switch teams. He should be less expensive than players like Javon Hargrave, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Daron Payne. As such, he should be an interesting target for the Saints.
2. WR Allen Lazard
With the Green Bay Packers looking to move on from wide receiver Allen Lazard, the Saints could benefit from adding the 6’5, 227-pound wide receiver to their team. As a skilled blocker, Lazard’s run-blocking ability would be a valuable asset to the Saints. Additionally, the Saints’ rookie wide receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are lighter and speedier, so Lazard’s physicality would add a new element to their offense. Although Lazard had a career-low run-blocking grade in 2022, his mark from 2019 to 2021 ranked seventh among wide receivers. He also set career highs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards in 2022 with a top receiving grade.
1. DT Larry Ogunjobi
The Saints face a potential defensive front turnover with the potential loss of Onyemata and Davenport. Of course, Cameron Jordan is also nearing the end of his career. To address this, they could consider signing Larry Ogunjobi, who earned a 61.7 overall grade with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2022. That was his best since his rookie season. While he may not consistently win one-on-ones as a pass-rusher, Ogunjobi has had 70 quarterback pressures over the last two seasons. Additionally, he would represent a cost-effective addition for the Saints as they aim to scale back their aggressive salary cap approach.