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News » New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-03-17


New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-03-17


New Orleans Saints Inside Slant 2009-03-17
As the free agency signing period reached the two-week mark, the Saints appeared to have done most of their shopping -- for now.


Of course, they didn't have to go far to spend what little money they had available under the $127 million salary cap. They re-signed three of their own unrestricted free agents and acquired two from other teams.

They got middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, right tackle Jon Stinchcomb and wide receiver Devery Henderson to return to the team and brought in cornerback Jabari Greer from the Buffalo Bills and fullback Heath Evans from the New England Patriots.

That just about brought the Saints to the end of the first "phase" of free agency. The Saints filled many of their needs early in the signing period and now may be looking only for a free safety although the team continues to bring in veteran players for visits.

In the first week of free agency, the Saints were one of the more active teams in the league despite a shortage of salary cap space. To make some of those moves, they had to release wide receiver David Patten and running back Deuce McAllister.

But they managed to take care of their top three priorities -- Vilma, Stinchcomb and Henderson -- and were still able to pick up a couple more pieces to the puzzle in Greer and Evans.

As a result, the Saints have not had to tear apart their team in order to improve it, which is the goal during free agency. Patten and McAllister, one of the most beloved players in club history, played minor roles last year.

When they head into their off-season program later this month, the Saints will have 21 of 22 starters back from last year's team. The lone exception is fullback Mike Karney, who was released when Evans agreed to a contract. But the Saints believed they upgraded that position.

And with the addition of Greer, the Saints will probably have at least two new starters in a secondary that has ranked 30th and 28th, respectively, the last season seasons in passing yards allowed.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 17, 2009

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Vernon Carey Name: Vernon Carey
#72
Position: OT
Age: 27
Experience: 5 years
College: Miami (FL)
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