If your name isn’t Drew Brees or Brandin Cooks, get your bags ready.
The New Orleans Saints are ready for an overhaul. After going 7-9 last season, the Saints are reportedly shopping “everyone but Drew Brees and Brandin Cooks,” according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. The team has already sent tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks and offensive guard Ben Grubbs to the Kansas City Chiefs since the start of free agency at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
The quick trigger by the Saints front office suggests that last season really didn’t sit well. The Saints missed the playoffs despite playing in perhaps the worst division in the NFL. Their final two losses came by a combined 47 points to the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, their NFC South rivals.
When discussing the Jimmy Graham trade, general manager Mickey Loomis said the team wants to place an emphasis on defense this offseason. By acquiring a first-round pick from the Seahawks and a fifth-round pick from the Chiefs, it appears the Saints are also placing an emphasis on youth.
The Saints bolstered the running game by signing running back Mark Ingram to a four-year extension and taking one of the best run-blocking centers in football, Max Unger, from the Seahawks. Those moves, coupled with reports that the team is trying to trade wide receiver Kenny Stills, suggest that New Orleans may be trying to make over its pass-happy, Brees-heavy identity.
Brees isn’t going anywhere, but perhaps only because he is owed $ 54 million over the next two seasons. The 35-year-old will be 37 by the time his contract with the Saints expires, meaning New Orleans may also make drastic moves to prepare for life after their Hall of Fame quarterback is no longer effective.
Whatever the thinking, the Saints are being proactive. We’ll see if that’s a good thing.