No surprises for Saints on first day of free agency

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          saints helmetThe New Orleans Saints were hit hard on the first day of NFL free agency.

          Or, were they?

          The Saints lack of action regarding offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod was telling.

          When the Saints failed to use the franchise tag on Bushrod, they were telling you all you need to know.

          Head coach Sean Payton had to know the Chicago Bears had a huge need at left tackle, and that former Saints offensive line coach Aaron Kromer would likely pursue Bushrod to fill that need.

          Plus, the Saints have a history under Sean Payton. That is, draft young offensive lineman, and when they become too expensive, let them walk.

          The only exception to this rule is right guard Jahri Evans, who inked an extension that at the time, made him the highest paid guard in football.

          The Saints have been patient with former 2nd round pick Charles Brown, who will likely get his shot to win the left tackle spot.

          With Bushrod’s departure, the Saints have no selections from the 2007 draft currently on their roster.

          The lone survivor from the rookie class of 2007 is undrafted free agent running back Pierre Thomas.

          The Saints also lost backup quarterback Chase Daniel to Kansas City. Even though he played his college football at the University of Missouri, Kansas City is a curious destination for Daniel.

          He will likely backup former 49ers starter Alex Smith, who the Chiefs acquired via trade.

          Sean Payton has drafted only one quarterback since he arrived here in 2006. That was Oregon State’s Sean Canfield with a 7th round choice in 2010.

          The 2013 draft is a fairly deep one for quarterbacks. There are no apparent superstars in the quarterback class but there appear to be ample possibles.

          The Saints could inquire about former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was released by Buffalo Tuesday.

          After the initial wave of free agent signings, the bargain hunting begins and the Saints could be a destination for several second tier free agents.

          By agreeing to re-structured deals with defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma, the Saints have more flexibility.

          In the meantime, Sean Payton’s pitch will be simple.

          We are one of the best organizations in football with one of the league’s best quarterbacks.

          Come here, and join us when we win another Super Bowl.

          As free agency kicked off, the Saints as expected didn’t toss around any funny money.

          They weren’t in position to do so.

          And, neither were the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

          The Ravens signed quarterback Joe Flacco to a deal that could be worth $121 million.

          The Ravens then traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin after he refused to take a paycut.

          And, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe agreed to a deal with the Miami Dolphins.

          In the NFL, winning a Super Bowl without a franchise quarterback is difficult.

          But, continuing to win with one can provide a riddle of its own.


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