The New Orleans Saints face a LONG list of questions heading into the off season after this Panthers FG ended their season at an ugly 7-10.
Let's start at the top with the future of already embattled Head Coach Dennis Allen after just one season.
Let's hypothetically say that Allen stays. The defense did end up in the top 10 and allowed 20 points or less in the final 8 games. And that is his specialty.
1) Who Will Be The QB in 2023?
The hell if I know. All signs point to the organization being over Jameis Winston and he has a 15 million $$$ cap hit so he is all but gone. Andy Dalton is clearly a backup at this point of his career. Do you bring him back in that role? The Saints currently do not have a 1st round pick either. Do they take a look at Derek Carr? Your guess is as good as mine but something has to be done. I would not be surprised if Dalton is brought back as a backup as insurance policy. Maybe they draft a mid rounder & bring in a free agent too?
2) Do the Saints fire Pete Carmichael and find another OC?
There is no sugar coating it. The offense was abysmal. And there are playmakers on the roster in Alvin Kamara, Taysom Hill, Chris Olave & upcoming rookie Rashid Shaheed. The Offensive Line did suffer a ton of injuries too. But that does not excuse the lack of creative play calling. And the Saints could have utilized Taysom Hill A LOT better. Far too often, he was on the sidelines in key short yardage situation and was ignored in the game plan when the offense clearly needed a spark.
3) What do the Saints do with Cam Jordan (33), DeMario Davis (33) & Tyrann Mathieu (30) all towards the end of their primes and making big $$$?
All three of these guys are absolute warriors. There is no doubt the Saints want them to be leaders on the defense. Cam Jordan just broke the Saints sack record and is a New Orleans legend. But if the team is not going anywhere, can the Saints justify these salary cap hits?
Cam Jordan 25.6 Million
Demario Davis 13.7 Million
Tyronn Mathieu 8.9 Million
It would break my heart to lose any of these three but tough decisions are going to have to be made. I seriously doubt Mathieu gets cut after bringing the NOLA native home last offseason and his strong 2nd half of the season.
4) Do the Saints go all in to try to win the weak NFC South or finally embrace fixing the cap & rebuild?
We all already know the answer to this. The Saints have been in win now mode since Drew Brees and Sean Payton came aboard in 2006. And they are not going to change course with how weak the rest of the NFC South is. It sure would be nice to see them trade down to stockpile more draft picks for once but I have to see it to believe it at this point.
I do expect both Jameis Winston (15.6 Million) and Michael Thomas (14.1 Million) to be gone.
5) What kind of compensation can the Saints get for Sean Payton?
Sean Payton is already set to interview with the Denver Broncos and is a frontrunner on paper for the Arizona Cardinals. It is PARAMOUNT the Saints get draft capital back for his rights ESP because they do not have a 1st round pick. I could see getting Denver's late 1st rounder but Arizona's #4 overall pick feels like very wishful thinking.
Bottom line I expect the Saints to hire a new OC, bring in a couple QBs, hope for better injury luck to run it back with most of their defense in 2023.
Hopefully they can go 9-8 and win the crappy NFC South.
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