Sean Payton’s return in 2013 proved to be what the Saints needed to get back to their winning ways. New Orleans improved its record by 4 wins in 2013 with Payton back as head coach after amassing just seven wins during his suspension in 2012.
During the offseason in which Payton was suspended, the Saints were able to keep Drew Brees with a $100 million contract extension. The question is now whether or not retaining the best player ever to don a black and gold jersey will mean key players will be shown the door this offseason.
Leading his 10 disciples, Breesus has broken many records in his time with the Saints. This year, however, was all about other top quarterbacks in the league catching up or passing Drew, instead of watching him maintain these records. We all saw how Brees struggled late in the season, especially with interceptions.
Brees has 13 years of experience and it is time for the Saints to think about his upcoming replacement. As of training camp 2013, Sean Payton and quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi have been grooming Luke McCown to be Brees’ right hand man. Keep an eye out for his progress this upcoming summer.
Jimmy Graham is the man of the hour now. The record setting tight end has become Drew Brees’ favorite target. After all, Graham is the only skill position player ever to reach the Pro Bowl during Brees’ tenure in New Orleans. The big man has made big plays in his fourth season with the Saints. He has caught 301 passes, has 3,863 yards and 41 TDs.
However, with Drew’s hefty price tag, the Saints look ill equipped to be able to afford both players. General Manager Mickey Loomis will have his work cut out for him this offseason.
In each of the past three years the Saints have allowed a Pro Bowl offensive lineman leave in order to stay under the salary cap. That has clearly become an issue, especially at left tackle. It is clear the approach of just letting players walk in order to afford Brees is not the answer in building a championship caliber team. Maybe it is time for the quarterback affectionately known as “Breesus,” to make a sacrifice in pay for the betterment of the organization.
Being that this was Payton’s first season back working with his team, it’s tough to develop a new relationship with rookies and maintain relationships with veterans you haven’t coached in a year. It was clear that a miracle Super Bowl win from the Saints wasn’t in the cards this year.
However, it was impressive where the team finished this season. This offseason it will be interesting to see what players this organization sacrifices just to stay within their budget. They will have to dissect each player and decide they are capable of winning this team a championship. Next season looks very bright for The New Orleans Saints and Who Dats everywhere due to the return of Sean Payton and his positive attitude on this team’s future.
Read more Saints rumors, news and opinion on our New Orleans Saints page