Saints should pounce after Bears grant DE Trevis Gipson’s trade request

This could be a great fit: ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Chicago Bears have given veteran defensive end Trevis Gipson permission to seek a trade, and the New Orleans Saints would be a great landing-spot. The fourth-year pro has 10 sacks and 5 forced fumbles through his first three years and 40 games in the NFL, and the Saints don’t have a lot to hang their hats on at defensive end. Gipson’s pressure totals in each of the last two years would have ranked top-five in New Orleans.

Cameron Jordan’s production has slowed down in the final years of his career. Carl Granderson is facing high expectations as a part-time player promoted to the starting lineup. Payton Turner is finally healthy and practicing well but he needs to prove he can sustain it in games. Rookie draft pick Isaiah Foskey doesn’t appear to be in line for a big role this fall, which is typical for Saints defensive ends.

Go further down the depth chart and you’ve got guys like Niko Lalos and Kyle Phillips competing for a spot on the practice squad. Veteran backup Tanoh Kpassagnon has been taking practice reps over guards and centers, helping to bolster the defensive tackles depth chart and find ways to get him on the field. The Saints could use a proven commodity like Gipson.

Gipson, 26, was a fifth-round pick out of Tulsa back in the 2020 draft. He meets the athletic thresholds the Saints look for at 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, with an unofficial 9.36 Relative Athletic Score. Fowler adds that Gipson “could be looking to get back to a 3-4 scheme” and the Saints have run enough three-man fronts in recent years to keep him happy.

New Orleans lacks a reliable starter on top of the depth chart opposite Jordan. Granderson has had a productive summer, but he’s averaged just 24.7 snaps per game in his career. Gipson has averaged 34.2 snaps per game the last two years in Chicago’s starting lineup. And like Granderson, he’ll be a free agent in 2024. If either of them leave for a new team on a nice contract offer the Saints could get a compensatory draft pick back to balance out what they spent to acquire him.

And there are plenty of snaps to go around. Jordan’s snap count should continue to go down a bit as he continues to age (his 49.4 defensive snaps and 27.3 pass rush reps per game were a career-low), creating opportunities for younger players to get into the game. The Saints could split reps between Granderson and Gipson at the right defensive end spot while working Turner in as well, which could be wise given his injury history — slowly ramping up his workload to limit his exposure to injury.

Last year the Saints faced about 38 pass attempts per game. If that’s close to what they expect this season, Granderson and Gipson could both easily plan on seeing 15 to 18 pass-rush snaps each week. Turner would get about 10 reps of his own until he’s proven he can handle more. They could also each occasionally line up on the left side along with Kpassagnon and Foskey, if he’s active, in relief of Jordan.

There’s room for Gipson on the depth chart. The Saints have enough salary cap space to afford him (he’s owed about $2.7 million this year) and it shouldn’t take a hefty package of draft picks to get him out of Chicago. But the coaching staff has expressed a lot of optimism in what Granderson and Turner can do together opposite Jordan, so we’ll have to wait and see whether they ultimately make a move.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire