Teams have three options at the trade deadline: become sellers, become buyers, or simply stand pat and do nothing. It might not be sexy, but the New Orleans Saints may want to consider the third option above pursuing new players and certainly before shipping anyone out. The Saints proved their team has what it takes, when they put everything together, to compete with their current roster.
If it is true that they expect injured players like wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry and star cornerback Marshon Lattimore back this season, their “trade deadline acquisitions” may already be built in. If (and only if) those players are on the mend, this strategy could be just as effective as pursuing the level of talent they could afford to bring in.
Consider not only getting Thomas, Landry and Lattimore back but also returning tight end Adam Trautman and potentially getting first-round left tackle Trevor Penning in the mix for the stretch run of the season. Those are boosts at some quality, if not premier, positions. New Orlean must also keep their future in mind as well. I’m not sure this team can go full “Los Angeles Rams-style Les Snead” in their approach and start carelessly parting with draft picks. Not as the roster is currently constructed. Those days may be behind general manager Mickey Loomis and the Saints, at least for the short term.
While the team may be able to add draft capital this offseason with a hypothetical Sean Payton head coach trade, if you can’t plan for it, don’t sacrifice the assets. On the other hand, New Orleans could look to be sellers. But the restructured contracts on their roster make it extremely challenging to get quality trades done. Some dead cap hits the team would be able to stomach, particularly with players that may not be expected to be retained this offseason. But the list is short. Outside of gathering some late-round selections (or trading some away) it’s hard to see where the Saints could make a quality move that in turn moves the needle for them.
There are certainly places where the roster could use some help. Running back makes a ton of sense with veteran back Mark Ingram expected to miss time with an MCL injury. Defensive interior could be an interesting place to try and bolster and if the expected returns of the aforementioned wideouts is delayed in any way, that changes everything. But for now, as all is presently understood, it may be in the best interest of the Saints’ future to be mere spectators as the deadline passes.