Don’t look for the New Orleans Saints to lose many key players in free agency this year. They’ve done a good job of pre-emptively signing players to extension ahead of time; last summer they inked deals with starters who would have hit free agency in 2024 like right guard Cesar Ruiz, defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Carl Granderson, as well as long snapper Zach Wood.
That means only a handful of household names are headed for the open market this offseason. And when you consider the landscape of free agency, there are plenty of players who are seen as better options. Pro Football Focus analysts compiled a top-150 list of the best pending free agents, and there wasn’t a single Saints player in the top-100.
New Orleans was represented by just two names: wide receiver Michael Thomas at No. 115 and quarterback Jameis Winston at No. 130. Both players are technically under contract for 2024, but the Saints must decide whether to extend or release them by March or accept severe salary cap penalties, so for all intents and purposes they’re part of the free agent class.
Thomas was ranked 13th among 17 wide receivers in the top 150, while Winston was slotted in at sixth in the six-man free agent quarterbacks class. Neither of them are projected to land big deals in free agency, either, with PFF projecting one-year deals worth $8 million (for Thomas) and $4 million (for Winston). That’s very manageable not just for interested teams but for the Saints to match if they so choose.
Now, this isn’t to say the Saints won’t lose some players they’d like to have back. Andrus Peat might be a must-sign free agent at left tackle. Guys like linebacker Zack Baun, defensive tackle Malcolm Roach, and cornerback Isaac Yiadom might have better opportunities to get on the field elsewhere. But as far as the starting lineups on both sides of the ball are concerned, there’s going to be a lot of continuity carrying over into 2024.