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These 24 Saints players will be free agents in March

A small crowd of New Orleans Saints players are going to test the market in free agency this March, though few of them are starters or even critical backups. Still, it’s a group featuring many players the team would like to have back.

Some situations are more complicated than others. Backup quarterback Jameis Winston, for instance, reworked his contract so the Saints must choose to extend him or release him, essentially making it a voided deal (even if he is technically under contract through 2024). That’s also the case with fan-favorite wide receiver Michael Thomas.

On top of that, there are different types of free agents. Exclusive rights free agents have the option to either play for their current team at a minimum salary or sit out the 2024 season, so guys like Rashid Shaheed won’t be going anywhere. Restricted free agents could be tendered at a higher salary and possibly bring back compensation if signed elsewhere, but that’s rare to see. The vast majority of free agents will enjoy unrestricted status and have the freedom to field offers from any team.

With that said, here’s the list of Saints players who might be leaving for greener pastures in a few months:

WR Rashid Shaheed (exclusive rights)

TAMPA, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 31: Rashid Shaheed #22 of the New Orleans Saints returns a punt during the third quarter against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/tampa-bay/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tampa Bay Buccaneers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tampa Bay Buccaneers</a> at Raymond James Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

DL P.J. Mustipher (exclusive rights)

Jul 28, 2023; Englewood, CO, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/denver/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Denver Broncos;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Denver Broncos</a> defensive tackle PJ Mustipher (97) reacts towards fans during training camp at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

FB Adam Prentice (restricted)

Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/30614" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Taysom Hill;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Taysom Hill</a> (7) runs behind fullback Adam Prentice (46) against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/carolina/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Carolina Panthers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Carolina Panthers</a> in the second quarter at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

CB Shemar Jean-Charles (restricted)

Nov 19, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/san-francisco/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:San Francisco 49ers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">San Francisco 49ers</a> cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles (38) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

WR Lynn Bowden (restricted)

Oct 8, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. (5) makes a catch during warmups before a game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/new-england/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New England Patriots;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New England Patriots</a> at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

LB Ryan Connelly (unrestricted)

Aug 20, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Ryan Connelly (43) pressures <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/la-chargers/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles Chargers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles Chargers</a> quarterback <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/31998" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Easton Stick;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Easton Stick</a> (2) as Chargers offensive tackle <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/33792" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Foster Sarell;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Foster Sarell</a> (73) blocks during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

CB Isaac Yiadom (unrestricted)

Jan 7, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/atlanta/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Atlanta Falcons;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Atlanta Falcons</a> tight end <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/30213" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Jonnu Smith;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Jonnu Smith</a> (81) rushes against New Orleans Saints cornerback Isaac Yiadom (27) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

OL Max Garcia (unrestricted)

Dec 17, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints guard Max Garcia (73) looks on before the game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/ny-giants/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:New York Giants;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">New York Giants</a> at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LB Zack Baun (unrestricted)

TAMPA, FLORIDA – DECEMBER 31: <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/30971" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Baker Mayfield;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Baker Mayfield</a> #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is sacked by Zack Baun #53 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

DT Malcolm Roach (unrestricted)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – NOVEMBER 05: Malcolm Roach #97 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half of the game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/chicago/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Chicago Bears;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Chicago Bears</a> at Caesars Superdome on November 05, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

WR Keith Kirkwood (unrestricted)

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Keith Kirkwood (18) waits for the ball to be kicked off by the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/tennessee/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tennessee Titans;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tennessee Titans</a> during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

S Johnathan Abram (unrestricted)

Dec 31, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Johnathan Abram (24) celebrates after a turnover against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Johnathan Abram (24) celebrates after a turnover against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

RT Cameron Erving (unrestricted)

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 19: Cameron Erving #75 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 19: Cameron Erving #75 of the Carolina Panthers looks on during the preseason game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on August 19, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

TE Jimmy Graham (unrestricted)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 17: Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half of the game against the New York Giants at Caesars Superdome on December 17, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 17: Jimmy Graham #80 of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the second half of the game against the New York Giants at Caesars Superdome on December 17, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. (unrestricted0

Aug 20, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (28) I congratulated by cornerback Adrian Frye (44) after an interception against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 20, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. (28) I congratulated by cornerback Adrian Frye (44) after an interception against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

DB Ugo Amadi (unrestricted)

Aug 27, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Ugo Amadi (0) returns a punt against <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/houston/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Houston Texans;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Houston Texans</a> safety Eric Murray (23) during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

DE Kyle Phillips (unrestricted)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 13: Kyle Phillips #91 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after a turnover during a preseason game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/kansas-city/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kansas City Chiefs;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kansas City Chiefs</a> at Caesars Superdome on August 13, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

RB Eno Benjamin (unrestricted)

Jul 31, 2023; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Eno Benjamin (26) at Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2023; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Eno Benjamin (26) at Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LB Andrew Dowell (unrestricted)

Aug 1, 2023; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Andrew Dowell (50) at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2023; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints linebacker Andrew Dowell (50) at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LB Ty Summers (unrestricted)

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 13: Ty Summers #42 of the New Orleans Saints in action during a preseason game at Caesars Superdome on August 13, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – AUGUST 13: Ty Summers #42 of the New Orleans Saints in action during a preseason game at Caesars Superdome on August 13, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

LG Trai Turner (unrestricted)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 22: Trai Turner #70 of the Carolina Panthers warms-up before the start of the game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/indianapolis/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Indianapolis Colts;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Indianapolis Colts</a> at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)

LT Andrus Peat (void)

Nov 5, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints guard Andrus Peat (75) blocks Chicago Bears defensive end <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/29303" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Yannick Ngakoue;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Yannick Ngakoue</a> (91) during the second half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

WR Michael Thomas (void)

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – NOVEMBER 12: Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints on the bench before the game against the <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/teams/minnesota/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Minnesota Vikings;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Minnesota Vikings</a> at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 12, 2023 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

QB Jameis Winston (void)

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire