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The New Orleans Saints held onto their players and future draft picks, electing to stay put at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, which was just boring and frustrating, but that’s par for the course. Unlike pro basketball, baseball, or even hockey and soccer leagues, NFL teams take the coward’s path and hold onto draft picks they’ll spend on players they’ll cut within months jealously.
It’s disappointing to see the Saints stagnate like this. They’ve got clear and obvious room for improvement at wide receiver and tight end, and a smaller need at defensive tackle, to say nothing of the uncertainty at quarterback. But they’ve elected to sit on their hands. Kevin White caught a pass last week; maybe he catches two targets next week, but I probably shouldn’t get ahead of myself.
At least there are some heroes out there like the Los Angeles Rams, who made a blockbuster deal for Von Miller. And the Kansas City Chiefs were aggressive in adding a couple role players. Those visionary, free-wheeling teams are doing their best to liven up a date on the NFL calendar that’s otherwise not worth acknowledging.
How can we fix this? Pushing the trade deadline back a few weeks might do it. Teams that are obviously on the downslope like the 3-4 Atlanta Falcons or 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles could be more willing to offload productive veterans like tight end Hayden Hurst and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox when they’re sitting ugly with six or seven losses instead of delusions of reaching .500 and getting into the playoff race. Instead they’re stubbornly holding onto good players in a doomed season. Nobody’s enjoying that.
Anyway: back to the Saints. They made their moves earlier in trading for Bradley Roby and Mark Ingram. And they’re set up well for the rest of the season, despite having lost Jameis Winston for the season to a knee injury, with just four games on their schedule against teams with a winning record. Here is a quick reminder of which draft picks they have to work with in the next few years (with more comp picks on the way in the spring):
2022: 1, 2, 3 (comp for Terry Fontenot), 4, 5, 7
2023: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
2024: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6