This should be a big couple weeks for the Saints starting in early March. Since 2006 free agency has been a real hit or miss exercise for the Saints. Don’t let the Drew Brees signing in 2006, arguably the best free agent signing of all time, cloud the fact that the Saints haven’t been masters at this under Sean Payton. I compiled the ten best and the ten worst since 2006 below for your enjoyment, starting with the 10 best:
THE 10 BEST:
10. Brodrick Bunkley, DT, 2010
Bunkley was a solid player that was never spectacular for the Saints. He played three seasons as a steady run stuffer for the Saints, though his first season was by far his best.
9. Anthony Hargrove, DT, 2009
Hargrove only played two years with the Saints, but he was a crucial sub package pass rusher in the Super Bowl winning season, finishing with 5 sacks. A cool story, too, because he had a rough history of drug use. The Bounty Gate situation would unfairly ruin his career.
8. Benjamin Watson, TE, 2013
It was a decent signing for depth prior to this year, but after the season he just had it’s now undeniable this was an excellent pickup. At 35 he just had the best year of his career with 74 catches, 825 yards and 6 touchdowns.
7. Ben Grubbs, G, 2012
Some might remember Grubbs more for how it ended than how it started, but he produced nicely as a fill in for Carl Nicks. He was elected to one Pro Bowl.
6. Keenan Lewis, CB, 2013
There’s no question after three seasons he’s come out as a hit, though injuries are starting to take a hit. He’s the closest thing the Saints have had to a shutdown corner and he plays through most injuries. Hopefully he has more good seasons ahead.
5. Jabari Greer, CB, 2009
This turned out much better than most of us expected. For a while Greer was clearly the best cover corner on the team and there’s no doubt he played an instrumental role in the 2009 Super Bowl title.
4. Scott Fujita, LB, 2006
Fujita was a starter on the Super Bowl team but as much as his contribution on the field was significant, his contribution off of it was just as much. He was a leader, captain and voice of reason in the locker room. The Browns paid him stupid money to lure him away but he was probably worth it.
3. Darren Sharper, FS, 2009
This was basically a one year rental. Forget the off the field stuff (I wish I could), what Sharper did in 2009 set the Saints up to be a top seed in the NFC. It was worth it, though, without him winning a Super Bowl might not happen.
2. Darren Sproles, RB, 2011
He broke the NFL record for all purpose yards in a season. He was everything we all hoped Reggie Bush would be.
1. Drew Brees, QB, 2006
Arguably the best free agent signing ever. He’s still on the team as an elite QB. No debate necessary on this one.
Note: Not included was Delvin Breaux, though one more good season was probably be enough to launch him ahead of at least Bunkley and Hargrove.