Decision time for the Saints; what will future hold?
Okay. Let’s get this over with.
There is just no better way to say this, the New Orleans Saints got totally outplayed by the Minnesota Vikings this past Sunday in the NFC Wild Card game.
You can blame it on what you want. You can question Sean Payton’s play calling/decision making. You can call out the referees for the questionable no call on the last touchdown of the game. You can blame it on the football gods.
Honestly, it really does not matter who you blame it on. The bottom line is THE SAINTS DID NOT SHOW UP TO PLAY!!!
My question is this. How can a 13-3 team, playing on their home surface, in front of the best fans in the NFL, just totally lay an enormous, rotten, stench filled egg?
And if we are going to start pointing fingers, the first place I would direct my 52-year old appendage is right at the offensive line. This is a line that supposedly is one of the best lines in the league.
But, for some unknown reason, they could not stop the penetration of the Viking front four. Do you realize that this “heralded” group gave up three sacks, seven hits on the quarterback, countless quarterback pressures and helped produce only 97 total yards on the ground?
The kicker: Minnesota did all of that without having to utilize the blitz for most of the game.
So, honestly, I really don’t want to hear all the excuses as to why the Saints blew another opportunity to make a serious run at a title. As far as I’m concerned, the Vikings wanted the game more, and they snatched it right out of New Orleans’ lifeless hands.
Now, that the season is over, the question becomes how do the Saints address the elephant(s) in the room, namely the free agent situation.
Starting the minute the clock ticked down to 0:00 this past Sunday, Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis were on the clock as to who they will keep and who will not be around come the 2020 campaign.
The biggest decision laying at the feet of Payton and Loomis is who will be the quarterback next season. Both Drew Brees and Teddy “Two Gloves” Bridgewater are unrestricted free agents. Taysom “Swiss Army Knife” Hill is a restricted free agent.
Who do you keep around? Because the likely hood of keeping all three on the roster is about as likely as getting struck by lightning three times in the same day.
Do you stay with the future hall-of-famer, the one who is, for all intents and purposes, the face of the franchise? Or do you go with the man that showed his grit and drive when every one counted the Saints out after Brees went down?
To me there is no doubt that you keep Hill. Even if he never lines up under center as a starter. The guy is what football should be about. His love of the game and his ability to do it all should stay in a black and gold uniform for as long as he can perform.
As far as Brees and Bridgewater go, to me its one or the other; you will not be able to pay both. As beloved as Brees is, he is getting to that point in his career where you have to weigh his value against his ability.
Don’t get me wrong, I still believe he has something left in the tank. The man is the most accurate passer in the history of the league, even if he cannot get the ball as far down the field as he used to.
Call me sentimental, but I would stick with Brees, hoping to sway him to tone down his contract so that the franchise could possibly find a young heir apparent to be groomed. Brees is a winner and the best leader the Saints have every had. Keep him.
If you can convince him to do a solid for the organization, then there will be more money available to spread around to other unrestricted free agents like Andrus Peat and Vonn Bell, or to go get other needs in other areas.
One thing for sure, the offseason will be very interesting.
Just my opinion!