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Grading Bleacher Report’s trade proposals for the Saints

The New Orleans Saints are shifting gears and focusing on their offseason, and it’s possible that they could cut some deals with other teams to get under the salary cap and field a better roster in 2024.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine and Kris Knox came up with several trade proposals for New Orleans, though one is clearly a better offer than the offer. They also highlighted some internal trade candidates and possible targets on other teams. Let’s evaluate those options and grade their trade proposals:

Saints trade down with Lions

Saints get: Detroit’s 2024 first- , second-, and third-round picks (Nos. 29, 61, and 92)

Lions get: New Orleans’ 2024 first-round pick (No. 14)

Mickey Loomis has never traded down in the first round, and he hasn’t traded back at all since 2007. But if there’s a year for taking a step back to collect more draft picks, it’s this. The Saints own just two picks in the top four rounds right now. They’ve had their best draft classes when owning multiple top-100 selections and this would give them an excellent opportunity to retool. Knowing Mickey Loomis, the Saints would be sending back one of their fifth- or sixth-round picks, but we’d take this trade package in a heartbeat.

New Orleans comes out with some surplus value and top-100 picks at Nos. 29, 45, 61, and 92. They may lose out on a top-15 prospect in trading down, but the upside in getting multiple players who can contribute immediately outweighs it. Loomis has to see the benefit in trading down and getting swings at the plate sooner or later.

Grade: A

Saints trade down with Panthers

Saints get: Carolina’s 2024 second- and third-round picks (Nos. 33 and 65), plus a 2025 third-round pick and CB Jaycee Horn

Lions get: New Orleans’ 2024 first-round pick (No. 14)

Again, this would be unprecedented. On top of trading down and out of the first round Loomis would be cutting a deal with a division rival. That’s not something he’s explicitly against doing, but he’s said before that he’d ask more from NFC South teams than others when cutting a deal.

To that end, getting a third-round pick in next year’s draft and an injury-prone cornerback who wouldn’t start don’t move me. Moving out of the first round altogether after picking in the top half is huge. The Saints should seek more than that. Horn could develop into a great player but he’s missed even more time than Marshon Lattimore the last three years. If Lattimore is here, Horn doesn’t start ahead of him or Paulson Adebo (or in the slot, where he’s never played many snaps). If Lattimore is traded, Alontae Taylor has the edge on Horn to start outside.

There’s a framework for a worthwhile trade here. But as it stands, this wouldn’t be a good deal for the Saints.

Grade: C

Other trade candidates

B/R characterized several Saints trade candidates as salary cap-minded moves, but that’s not realistic given the way they structure contracts. Trading a rising star like Paulson Adebo in 2024 before potentially losing him in free agency in 2025 would likely bring back a better selection than the Saints would get as a comp pick in 2026. But Adebo is worth more to the team as a starting cornerback and long-term replacement for Marshon Lattimore if he’s on the outs this offseason.

Another player B/R proposed as a Saints trade asset: Carl Granderson, which wouldn’t make any sense. Granderson signed an extension last summer and outplayed it this season. He’s a critically important player for them moving forwards and trading him would only save $3.57 million. The Saints would double those savings by simply restructuring his contract.

There are two veteran players they’re putting on the trade block, too, but it’s tough to rationalize these moves from the Saints’ perspective. Moving Taysom Hill after June 1 would yield some decent savings ($10 million) but the Saints would have to roster him with a $15.7 million cap hit through free agency to get there. There are better options for him. They could take that approach with Tyrann Mathieu, too, but he’s in the last year of his contract and an extension to ensure he’ll end his career playing for his hometown team would be better for the cap — and a much better story.

Top trade targets

Now this is interesting: one name B/R highlighted is Baltimore Ravens right tackle Morgan Moses. The 32-year-old is an experienced starter on the right side and he’d be an excellent insurance policy to keep in case Ryan Ramczyk’s knee condition causes him to miss more time, and his $5.5 million salary is manageable for most teams. But the Saints can’t justify that much money for someone who isn’t starting each week. They’re opening the offseason in the red by more than $83 million. If they can cut a deal with Baltimore where the Ravens pay part of his salary, it might be worth it, but the better move is investing a draft pick in an offensive lineman who can take Ramczyk’s place in the near future.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire