Mickey Loomis outlines expectations for Saints free agency

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John Sigler
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What are the New Orleans Saints planning for free agency? According to general manager Mickey Loomis, a lot of housekeeping and internal extensions. Loomis discussed his team’s offseason strategy during a Monday appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, pointing to the depressed salary cap and their long list of pending free agents as challenges to consider before the Saints can start scouting the open market.

“We’re not going to be a significant player in this free agency,” Loomis said. “We’re going to be focused on keeping our own team together and get some guys extended that have been with us.”

The Saints are estimated to still be about $4 million over the salary cap, so they have more cost-cutting moves ahead of them. Extensions for key players with high cap hits would accomplish the goals of keeping their core together while opening more room for handling other contracts.

Loomis declined to discuss specific situations, but obvious targets for new deals would include left tackle Terron Armstead ($16.2 million cap hit, highest on the team), right tackle Ryan Ramczyk ($11 million), and cornerback Marshon Lattimore ($10.2 million), as well franchise tagged free safety Marcus Williams ($10.6 million).

Of course, you can only cut a smaller pie into so many slices before someone gets left hungry. That’s going to cost the Saints some of their pending free agents, which Loomis admitted is a challenge in itself: “In all likelihood we are going to lose some players that were on our team last year. We understand that. It’s not a rebuild for us. It may be what I’d call a retool.”

That echoes comments Sean Payton made in a SiriusXM interview before Super Bowl LV, in which he forecasted the 2021 offseason as looking like a reboot rather than a rebuild. A leadership void is opening on the roster that veterans like Demario Davis, Cameron Jordan, and Malcolm Jenkins must step up to fill.

So don’t expect any blockbuster moves from New Orleans at the opening of free agency. These comments from Loomis suggest a more patient approach, waiting for the first wave or two to wash across the NFL before the Saints begin perusing the market. With so many talented veterans in the league’s middle class getting released as salary cap cuts, they could find some good players at affordable rates. But it’s also more important than ever to hit on their draft picks and acquire fresh legs. Things are rarely quiet on the Saints beat, so check back for updates.