The New Orleans Saints missed the playoffs for the first time since 2016 last season. They could not overcome a mountain of injuries and offensive struggles, and they barely missed the dance. Drew Brees already retired before last season and Sean Payton joined him this offseason, marking the end of an era in New Orleans.
To the Saints’ credit, they made significant improvements to their roster in the offseason. They addressed their wide receiver issues by signing Jarvis Landry and drafting Chris Olave. They also made up for losing Marcus Williams by signing both Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu in free agency.
New Orleans should contend for a playoff spot again in 2022. However, the team still made some questionable moves throughout the offseason. These two moves were head-scratchers at the time and could haunt the Saints in the future.
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New Orleans Saints Worst Offseason Moves
2. Trading a draft pick haul to the Eagles
The Eagles owned three first-round picks despite making the playoffs last season. The Saints wanted another first-round pick in this year’s draft, so the two teams decided to help each other out. While both teams accomplished their goals in this trade, New Orleans definitely got the worst end of the deal.
The Saints acquired two first-round picks, No. 16 and No. 19 , plus a sixth-rounder, No. 194, in the 2022 draft. The Eagles acquired picks No. 18, 101 and 237 in 2022, plus a first in 2023 and a second in 2024. In terms of raw value, the Eagles easily won this deal.
Disregarding what each team did with their picks, Philadelphia acquired three high picks across multiple drafts. On the other hand, New Orleans acquired just two in the same year. The Saints need to perform this season, because this trade will work even worse if they end up losing a top pick.
1. Letting Terron Armstead walk
NFL fans often point to New Orleans as proof the salary cap is more of a suggestion than a hard rule. GM Mickey Loomis continues to navigate the Saints through cap hell while losing few major pieces to the roster. However, cap problems caused the Saints to lose a key part of their team this offseason.
Armstead was a force on the Saints’ offensive line since they drafted him in 2013. He earned three straight Pro Bowl selections from 2018 to 2020, with a Second-Team All-Pro selection in 2018 as well. He dealt with injuries throughout his time in New Orleans, including elbow and knee injuries that limited him to eight games last season.
Armstead entered the offseason as one of the best free agents on the market. The Saints wanted to re-sign Armstead, but they didn’t have the cap space to pay him what he wanted. He then signed a five-year deal worth up to $87.5 million with the Miami Dolphins, giving them a much-needed boost on the offensive line.
The Saints’ offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL for years now. Armstead played a key part in forming that reputation, and New Orleans will feel his absence this season. The Saints still have former All-Pro Ryan Ramczyk to hold down the right side, but the left side will be more vulnerable without Armstead.
Loomis deserves credit for navigating the Saints’ cap situation so well in recent years. However, he isn’t perfect, and losing Armstead will be a reminder of that fact.