Home NFL Which potential NFL salary cap casualties could intrigue the Saints? – Saints Wire
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Which potential NFL salary cap casualties could intrigue the Saints? – Saints Wire

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The NFL is inching closer to free agency and the rollover to the 2020 salary cap, so teams around the league are already looking to trim too-expensive contracts and prepare for a busy spending season. Some teams have already gotten started; the Washington Redskins recently cut wide receiver Paul Richardson and cornerback Josh Norman, while the Baltimore Ravens released safety Tony Jefferson.

That creates opportunities for the New Orleans Saints to add veteran players who won’t count against the 2021 compensatory draft pick formula (only unrestricted free agents whose contracts naturally expire factor into the equation), even if they usually prefer to be aggressive in the free agent market.

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal assembled lists of possible salary cap cuts from both the AFC and those in the NFC; we’ve identified a handful of players who may interest the Saints should they become available.

WR Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs. Watkins has gained 1,656 receiving yards in 29 games for the Chiefs, including the playoffs; that’s an average of 57.1 yards per game. However, he’s been very high variance — Watkins has outdone that average in just 13 of those 29 games. That makes it tough to justify his $21 million salary cap hit.

TE Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers. Graham was an afterthought at best in the Packers offense, and it probably wouldn’t shock anyone if he tests free agency again in 2020. He’s fallen a long way from the Hall of Fame trajectory he was on with the Saints so many years ago. If Graham is willing to accept a bit part in an offense, it might make sense for him and the Saints to patch things up and finish his career where it started.

WR Mohamed Sanu, New England Patriots. The Saints are familiar with Sanu from his time with the Atlanta Falcons, and he could be a better fit with Drew Brees (or Teddy Bridgewater, or Taysom Hill) in New Orleans than with a washed-up Tom Brady last year. The Patriots can free up $6.5 million in badly-needed salary cap space by cutting the underwhelming trade pickup.

G J.R. Sweezy, Arizona Cardinals. Once upon a time, the Saints went hard after Sweezy in free agency, but were outbid by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The ex-Seahawks starter flamed out in Tampa Bay and landed with the Cardinals, but it’s possible the Saints try to bring him in as competition for Nick Easton and Will Clapp at left guard, barring a bigger investment through the draft or in free agency.

CB A.J. Bouye, Jacksonville Jaguars. Bouye turned in a poor performance in 2019, getting roasted so thoroughly by the Saints in the season-opener that the Houston Texans cut him just days later. But he’s only 28 and could play better in a reduced role. The Saints are running so thin at cornerback right now that they can’t overlook any options to fill out the depth chart.

LB Nigel Bradham, Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints’ situation at linebacker is similar to their shaky outlook at cornerback: they just need more bodies. Multiple projected starters are working to return from season-ending injuries, and Bradham could help tide the Saints over until Alex Anzalone and Kiko Alonso are back to their old selves. It’s tough to buy into the idea of the Eagles keeping Bradham around while counting $9.8 million against the cap.

S Tony Jefferson, Baltimore Ravens. An early-season knee injury cut Jefferson’s Ravens career short, but he was a consistently productive player in the years leading up to 2019. He’s already been cut and would make sense for the Saints if they choose not to re-sign Vonn Bell. But they must do a better job of vetting Jefferson’s medicals than they did with previous free agent missteps like Jairus Byrd and

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