New Orleans Saints Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Both HC Sean Payton (currently the highest paid head coach in the NFL) and QB Drew Brees (currently the 5th highest paid QB in the NFL) are both up for new contracts. Meanwhile, the Saints have had 3 losing seasons out of the past 4. Coach Sean Payton, who has two years left on his existing deal, said publicly that he’s “close to finalizing” a new contract with the Saints.
2016 Team Outlook- The Saints play in the NFC South, and they might have been the favorite to win the division in 2016, if it weren’t for that one other team….the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers ended the season 15-1 and then went onto Super Bowl 50. New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Atlanta won’t be able to put the same caliber of team on the field as Carolina will in 2016, so expect a repeat for the Panthers (although not another 15-1 season.) The Saint’s fire to win seems to have been extinguished years ago, so another 7-9 season is not unfathomable.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-
QB– In 2012, “The Saints offered Brees more than the $18.5 million and a $30 million signing bonus….the 2nd-highest amount of guaranteed money in NFL history in the first 3 years of his deal. Brees countered by demanding $23 million per season.” (Because Brees wouldn’t sign, the Saints couldn’t franchise all-pro guard Carl Nicks, who left to go to Tampa. Cornerback Tracy Porter and Robert Meachem both left as well.) Brees would cash in for 5 years and $100 million in the middle of July. He’ll no doubt be demanding another huge contract.
RBs– Mark Ingram was having a pretty good year, until he suffered a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder in Week 12, and placed on injured reserve. Even missing the last 4 games of the season, Ingram ended 2015 as the #15 running back in the NFL. (He should be fully healthy for the start of OTAs.) RB Tim Hightower was a beast taking over for Ingram in the last past of the season. New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis: said in a recent radio interview…”the Saints will see ‘real C.J. Spiller’ in 2016″. Don’t believe it. Fantasy football owners stuck a fork in Spiller long ago. UPDATE: Tim Hightower re-signed 1-year deal w/ NO.
WRs– The Saints have a lot of young talent in their receiving corps, starting with Brandin Cooks (2014 NFL Draft) and Brandon Coleman (UFA). Cooks bounced back from an injury his rookie season, to end 2015 as the #12 WR in the NFL. He had 1140 receiving yards and 9 TDs. 6’6″ Coleman will replace long-time Saint WR M Colston, who was released Feb. 29th, 2016. 23 year old Willie Snead finished his sophomore season with 69 catches for 984 yards and 3 TDs.
TEs– Josh Hill was suppose to be the heir-apparent to Jimmy Graham ( traded to Seattle) but TE Ben Watson wasn’t to be denied in 2015. Watson finished the 2015 NFL season as the #7 tight end, with 825 yards and 6 TDs. Ben Watson is now a free agent. Saints GM Mickey Loomis says the team still has high hopes for restricted free agent TE Josh Hill for 2016. UPDATE: Saints ink TE former Colt Coby Fleener to a 5 yr deal
K– Over the past couple seasons, the Saints have had a few place kickers working for them, but none have really worked out. Shayne Graham kicked in 2014. New Orleans started with Zach Hocker in 2015, but converted just 9-of-13 field goals and was released. The Saints then signed K Kai Forbath, who’s now a free agent.
DEF– Good Bye DC Rob Ryan and good riddance. In two full years as the Saint’s defensive coordinator, the defense ranked 31st and 32nd. By far, the worst in the NFL. It’s doubtful that he would have gotten another job as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, but his brother ( BUFF HC Rex Ryan) has hired brother Rob. (Dennis Allen took over as New Orleans’ defensive coordinator after Rob.)
2015 New Orleans Fantasy Surprises– Free agent TE Ben Watson had a career year in 2015, and the 35-year-old says he wants to keep playing. Watson and the Saints are in talks for a new contract. After RB mark Ingram went down in week 12, RB Tim Hightower was re-signed and got his first regular season work since 2011. He was a fantasy football waiver wire savior for owners who lost Ingram. Hightower was impressive, racking up 456 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns in Weeks 14 thru 17.
2016 Free Agents that New Orleans Needs to Address– TE Ben Watson, RB Khiry Robinson (RFA), RB Tim Hightower, TE Josh Hill (RFA), K Kai Forbath, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, RB Travaris Cadet, QB Luke McCown, QB Matt Flynn, OG Tim Lelito (RFA), DT Kevin Williams, FS Rafael Bush, CB Kyle Wilson,
2016 NFL Draft- Getting rid of DC Rob Ryan was only the start of repairing the worst defense in the NFL. The defensive line must get help, and the Saint’s were 32nd vs the pass, so a shut down corner is needed. An offensive guard will be taken at some point in this draft. – SAINT’S 2015 DRAFT
Did You Know– The team’s colors (Black and Gold) came about as a salute to the city’s long standing ties to the oil industry (“Black Gold”).
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team Home Page: www.neworleanssaints.com