1 free agent the Saints could target from each NFC East team

How active will the New Orleans Saints be in free agency this year? They weren’t big spenders last offseason, parting ways with longtime starters like free safety Marcus Williams and left tackle Terron Armstead, with even their most expensive additions clocking in near the NFL’s middle class in the safety duo of Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu.

But there are plenty of options available this spring. Some of these targets are budget-friendly, others are big swings at the plate. We’ll be highlighting pending free agents from every team, one division at a time, to get an idea of where the Saints could look to make moves once they finally reach salary cap compliance. Let’s start with the NFC East:

Dallas Cowboys RB Tony Pollard

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Pollard’s postseason injury was unfortunate, but the good news is that it shouldn’t impact his availability come training camp. He should be good to go by July. If he reaches free agency (and the Cowboys could use the $10.9 million franchise tag to prevent that), he’d be a great fit in New Orleans as a dynamic runner who can complement Alvin Kamara and shoulder the load should Kamara miss time with an NFL suspension.

Other free agents of note:

  • TE Dalton Schultz

  • LG Connor McGovern

  • LB Leighton Vander Esch

  • DE Dante Fowler Jr.

New York Giants WR Darius Slayton

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It feels like the Giants have spent years trying to trade Slayton to the Saints, but a deal never materialized, and soon New Orleans will be free to try and sign him as a free agent. He’s an experienced wideout who would be a great veteran presence in the receiving corps with consistent production as a downfield threat, having averaged 15.1 yards per catch in his career. He was developed by Saints wide receivers coach Kodi Burns when they were both at Auburn, too.

Other free agents of note:

  • QB Daniel Jones

  • RB Saquon Barkley

  • DE Jihad Ward

  • WR Richie James

Philadelphia Eagles DT Javon Hargrave

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Why not aim for the top? The Saints have worked wonders to get around the salary cap in the past, and Hargrave would be worth it. There hasn’t been a more consistent interior pass rusher this side of the Mississippi River (and Aaron Donald) over the last two seasons, and Hargrave still has a lot to offer after turning 30. He’ll be very expensive, don’t get it twisted. His proven production is also an example of getting what you pay for.

Other free agents of note:

  • RB Miles Sanders

  • QB Gardner Minshew

  • RB Boston Scott

  • WR Zach Pascal

Washington Commanders DT Da'Ron Payne

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Following the theme of a hefty free agent investment at defensive tackle, Payne could be the best player at his position who could reach the market. He’s a terror on passing downs and can be disruptive in both phases, though he can give ground in run defense. The Saints would have to break the bank to land him, but if they’re reshaping the defensive line anyway he’d be a great player to build around.

Other free agents of note:

  • QB Taylor Heinicke

  • C/G Wes Schweitzer

  • LB Cole Holcomb

  • DE Efe Obada

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire