May 19, 2024

Identifying the key players the Saints should prioritize re-signing in the 2024 NFL free agency involves navigating the complexities of salary cap considerations. The New Orleans Saints, known for their unconventional approach to the salary cap, have historically demonstrated a willingness to sign players they desire, treating the cap as more of a guideline than a constraint.

Despite having notable players and team mainstays with expiring contracts, the Saints should resist the temptation to simply maintain the status quo. This tendency has contributed to the Saints finding themselves in a precarious position within the NFL landscape. While their 9-8 record is respectable, it falls short of securing a playoff spot, necessitating a reevaluation of the roster.

2024 NFL Free Agency: 12 Players Teams Could Let Walk | Yardbarker

Out of the 23 players set to enter free agency from the 2023 roster, the Saints should strategically allocate resources to retain certain individuals. Three players stand out as deserving of the effort to circumvent salary cap limitations:

  1. WR Rashid Shaheed: Emerging as a significant deep-threat in 2023, Shaheed, a second-year undrafted wide receiver from Weber State, showcased his ability to make big plays every time he ran a route. Despite occasional fluctuations in performance, he finished second in receiving yards behind Chris Olave. Shaheed’s impressive stats include tying for the team lead with five receiving touchdowns and seven receptions of 40+ yards. As an exclusive rights free agent, offering him a one-year qualifying offer should secure his return, given his dynamic presence in the Saints’ offense.
  2. CB Isaac Yiadom: Initially signed for depth in the secondary and special teams contributions, Yiadom exceeded expectations as a cornerback during the 2023 season. Stepping up in the absence of Marshon Lattimore, he showcased valuable coverage skills, ranking 12th in the NFL with a 48.9 percent completion percentage allowed on targets and 14 passes defended. While not a long-term solution as a number-one cornerback, retaining Yiadom becomes even more crucial amid uncertainties surrounding Lattimore’s future with the team.
  3. DL Malcolm Roach: Despite the Saints’ defensive struggles against the run in the 2023 season, Roach emerged as a key component in run defense. Missing the last five games, the team experienced a notable decline in run defense, highlighting Roach’s importance. While not a prolific pass rusher, his exceptional run-stopping abilities, evidenced by the top run stop percentage among players with over 10 run defense snaps, make him a valuable asset in the defensive linemen rotation. Retaining Roach provides stability without requiring a significant financial commitment.

In conclusion, strategically re-signing these players in the upcoming free agency period will contribute to reinforcing the Saints’ roster and addressing specific positional needs. This approach balances the team’s commitment to its established players with the necessity of adapting to the evolving dynamics of the NFL.

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