In What May Be My Favorite Made Up Stat Of All Time, One Scout Gave The Saints A 50/50 Chance Of Drafting Lamar Jackson
247Sports- NFL scout and Sporting News analyst Eric Galko is of the opinion that the Saints’ connection to Jackson is much stronger than most people think.
“I’ll just throw this out there and you can choose to ignore it: Lamar Jackson, probably a 50 percent chance he goes with 31 teams, and a 50 percent chance he is drafted by the New Orleans Saints,” Galko said on his “Scanning the Field” podcast.
“I’ll just leave that there. I’m saying, literally 50-50.”
BREAKING NEWS: There's a fairly good chance that the Saints draft polarizing quarterback prospect Lamar Jackson in hopes of solidifying themselves under center for the next decade, and...and...and...you'll never believe this but...there's a perfectly equal chance that they don't.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT HAPPENING? ISN'T MATH MAGICAL?!?
The truth is, I think this might be my favorite made up stat of all time. It's pretty much neck-in-neck with that time I was at a wedding and the priest said that "only 2% of couples that have faith get divorced". Not that it's a hard bar to set, but the fact that the agenda attached to this one is far less blatant might have it coming into final stretch just a white lie-induced grown nose ahead of the pack.
I mean, to put a percentage point on a proclamation that he'd need access to every single finalized draft board throughout the entire league to calculate, Eric Galko definitely proved that he's completely full of shit. That said, who isn't completely full of shit come draft time? When it comes to predicting how the dice will happen to land in a league-wide crap shoot, being half right is actually incredibly impressive. No matter what the color of the jersey Lamar Jackson dons on stage come April 26th, no one can say that everyone's favorite overly literal draft analyst was more wrong than right about the Louisville product's professional destination, and - given his line of work - that's an invaluable accomplishment to add to his resume. Say what you want about it being an empty assessment that only stands to make him look smarter in time, because - when the undeniable allure of a 51/49 split came-a-calling - he stayed strong in covering all his bases.
Now, of course, I don't think this means that the Saints won't draft Lamar Jackson. If anything, knowing Sean Payton, his suspiciously timed and overly critical critique of the quarterbacks in this draft class (below) lead me to believe that Eric should probably shoot his shot with an 80/20. Still, the fact remains that the math would add up just as admirably on a 62/47 as it does on 50/50 that somehow turned hundreds of fluid factors into a simple "that or that".
Cam Jordan Hopped Back On The Recruiting Trail For Dez Bryant, And His Role As Saints' Twitter Scout Is Officially In Jeopardy
Annnnd, that'll do it. As much as I love Cam Jordan and am liable to agree with just about every one of his opinions following a DPOY-caliber season, the three-strike rule exists for a reason. Despite his best efforts, he swung and missed on Jimmy Graham and Ndamukong Suh, and I think he's now officially out as the Saints' social media recruiter after reaching for a ball that would have hit Dez Bryant in between the numbers before falling harmlessly to the ground.
I don't even hate the former Cowboy as a person, like a lot of football fans, but as a player...in the year 2018? His relative worth as a limited talent is shriveling up quicker than Jerry Jones' junk. I'd honestly rather watch Cameron Meredith limp through the route tree on an air-cast than watch someone who is a pass catcher in position only whine for more wasted targets. The Cowboys' best receiver is Allen Hurns and they just willingly cut ties with Dez Bryant without even suggesting that he take a pay cut. Saying that merely "speaks volumes" would be like saying that Stephen A. Smith has a mumbling problem.
Whatever spot would be made available to Dez Bryant in an offense that's also home to Michael Thomas, Tedd Ginn Jr. (shame on Cam for that exclusion), and Alvin Kamara is one that would undoubtedly leave him bickering about how much better he thinks he is than everyone else knows he is. Therefore, you can count me all the way out on him as the Saints' #4 wide receiver, and - for the first time - you can count me as skeptical of Cam Jordan's long-term future as a Saints' scout.
Me personally? I would never compare a weapon who was left to walk by the offensively-challenged team he played for previously despite having a seemingly reasonable price tag to a New Orleans Saints' legend. His build, skill set, and versatility might appear vaguely familiar, but - when it comes to Cameron Meredith - these fingers will not produce a single mention of any particular wideout who used to roam the slot creating mismatches after being damn close to also going undrafted.
Unfortunately, I am simply not liable for any analogies made by those that might make their living by spending countless hours closely examining game film...
In all seriousness, it kind of feels like the Saints took advantage of the Bears' lack of familiarity with the full range of medical advancements made in the last two decades. Not saying they didn't do their homework on Cameron Meredith, but it appears whatever textbook they were reading from is wildly outdated. Missing a full year due to a serious knee injury is definitely a reason for slight skepticism, but ACL/MCL surgery on a 25 year old in the year 2018 is basically as routine as a back shoulder throw over a trailing linebacker.
We are talking about a kid that has already proven capable of being productive, and - considering his limited history of pass catching - still has plenty of room to grow under an offensive guru that's long salivated at the thought of maneuvering his combination of size and speed up, down, and around the seam and slot. You don't have to do too much dreaming to envision a scenario where Cameron Meredith spends the next two years developing into a vital complementary cog in Sean Payton's offense as Ted Ginn Jr. slowly ages out of it. To be quite frank, the fact that he'll be doing so for merely five million a year when his past successes in a mediocre offense led by a half-retired quarterback were easily worth that seems rather silly, but who am I to complain about the Saints curing their third down woes?
The Saints Have Attempted To Upgrade Their Receiving Corps By Signing Cameron Meredith To An Offer Sheet
Sixty-six catches? 888 yards? Four touchdowns? I don't know what the conversion rate of production expected from the targets of a ready-to-retire Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley to production expected from the targets of Drew Brees, but I'm fairly certain it favors both the Saints and Cameron Meredith pretty damn heavily.
Obviously it's always a risk to make a multi-year offer to a skill position player coming off season-ending ACL tear, but that ACL tear is what's likely to have made available a 25 year old wide receiver with unteachable size and untapped potential. The former college quarterback will be nearly a year removed from surgery come training camp and has already proved his worth at a position in which he should only become more polished. There's no one I'd rather have doing that polishing than Curtis Johnson, and - given the familiarity - I would imagine this sheet got his stamp of approval prior to being offered.
Touchdown Teddy Ginn isn't getting any younger and his forever suspect hands aren't what anyone would consider a safety valve. The curious case of Willie Snead still remains unsolved. The Saints needed another reliable pass catcher, and if the Bears don't end up matching then they will have attained someone who did a more than admirable job filling in as a number one option when called upon. He obviously wouldn't be expected to stack up 100 yard games in New Orleans, but surely one of the best play-callers in the sport could find a consistent role for someone that was able to defy organizational incompetence to do just that in Chicago.
Simply put, other than the Bears letting him walk due to a price tag that's fitting of the type of complementary weapon he can become, not much else would have to go right to envision a scenario where Cameron Meredith reliably fills the role of taking pressure off Michael Thomas come third down next season. In no more than five days we'll see if the exit door gets left open for him to do so.
I don't think I'm alone in looking at my completely inconspicuous carry-on as if it's supplying the entirety of a cartel every time I make quick eye contact with a police dog in an airport. There's just a certain level of intimidation possessed by K-9's whose amplified senses are trained to serve as surveillance to those traveling...annnnnd it just got put to shame by this military dog.
I know Mark Ingram was running with hesitancy while clad in a suit that hindered his mobility, but we're talking about someone who is basically half-man, half-Tonka truck and makes the meanest motherfuckers on the planet consistently miss for a living...
...annnd he just got flung to the ground with a technically unsound tackle while trying to dodge a dog. If a juiced up, 250 pound linebacker goes that high on someone whose center of gravity sits as low as a goddamn gorilla's then he's probably spending an entire portion of film study getting berated for laying helplessly on the ground as Mark Ingram scooted his way 20 yards upfield. Meanwhile, a pup damn near put him through the dirt with a tackle that would have qualified for the Jacked Up segments of yesteryear. I don't know that I thought differently prior, but after seeing that clip I can definitively declare that our national security is in good paws.
Full disclosure? I was a bit perturbed when the Saints, after what felt like months of not-so-silently shopping him, flipped Brandin Cooks to the Patriots for the return of the latest of firsts and a mid-round pick swap. It's not so much that I was concerned about Sean Payton finding a way to replace the 1,000+ yards and the (give or take) half dozen touchdowns yards that he brought to the table, but rather the fact that 1,000+ yards and a half dozen touchdowns should - in theory - be worth more at said table. In essence, I thought Brandin Cooks resume was more valuable than Brandin Cooks skill set. I was technically wrong, but considering that - as of yesterday - the two most consistent offenses in the NFL have traded him as opposed to paying him, I wasn't too far off the right track.
Brandin Cooks is what he is. A small, speedy wideout who will make big plays, but rarely creates bigs plays. He's an average #1 option statistically, but a high-end #2 option in actuality. He'll might run past a few attempted tackles, but when it comes to taking them on head-to-head a China shop is capable of bulling him out of bounds. Remember, avoiding contact legitimately almost got him both killed and castrated in the same Super Bowl. With a good quarterback throwing him the ball and an offensive-minded coach on the sidelines, he'll continue to have the occasional standpoint performance that makes you wonder why he's become a bit of a journeyman and they'll be surrounded on the schedule by clusters of games in which his role as a footnote will clear that air. He essentially begged his way of New Orleans by complaining about touches in a blowout, only to go to the only other organization that's just as efficient at maximizing their offensive talent...and being used even more sparingly by a team that was otherwise depleted at his position.
I don't mean the following as an insult to the type of person or player that he is, but - as good as he is - Brandin Cooks' legend is very much in his own mind. It was annoying that he stomped his feet into a better situation at the time, but there was nothing that led me to believe he was long for a franchise that's proven adept at navigating the salary cap. His numbers will inevitably (and deservingly) command a significant pay raise, but the same can't be said for an impact that's proven inconsistent. Being deemed expendable by two teams with quality quarterbacks in their twilight years in back-to-back off-seasons isn't a good look, especially since - on paper - Brandin Cooks is anything but a bad player.
Despite him adding to the reinforcements made by a in-conference contender, the Saints' fan in me is comparable to Tom Brady in the sense that he also isn't concerned about some sort of comeuppance at the hands of a friend turned foe, and that speaks volumes about his value...
Drew Brees Is Suing A San Diego Jeweler For 9 Million Dollars After A Re-Appraisal Of A Diamond Ring That Cost Him Over 8 Million Dollars
TMZ- Drew Brees claims he was scammed out of MILLIONS by a jeweler who sold him an $8 MILLION diamond ring ... but the jeweler is saying Brees has no one to blame but himself.
The New Orleans Saints QB has filed a lawsuit against Vahid Moradi -- who runs the CJ Charles jewelry shop in San Diego, the city where Brees began his NFL career.
Brees claims he's been buying jewelry from Moradi for years -- and has dropped roughly $15 MILLION on some insane pieces ... including watches, earrings and rings.
Problem is ... Brees claims he recently had his jewelry independently appraised and was told his collection is worth $9 MILLION less than he paid.
In his suit filed Monday ... Brees says Moradi had insisted his jewelry was a solid investment that would definitely go up in value over the years -- and feels he was lied to the entire time.
Brees claims the biggest hit he took was on a 4.09 carat blue diamond ring he bought in 2015 for $8.18 million ... which recently appraised for only $3.75 million.
But Moradi's high-powered attorney, Eric M. George, says Brees shouldn't be pointing the finger at Moradi ... he can only blame himself.
"Drew Brees aggressively purchased multi-million dollar pieces of jewelry. Years later, claiming to suffer ‘cash flow problems,’ he tried to bully my client into undoing the transactions."
"Mr. Brees’s behavior and his belief that he was wronged because the jewelry did not appreciate in value as quickly as he hoped both demonstrate a lack of integrity and contradict basic principles of both economics and the law."
"He should restrict his game-playing to the football field, and refrain from bullying honest, hard-working businessmen like my client."
Brees is seeking at least $9 million in damages.
Mo' Money, Mo' Problems. Shockingly, it's not just the title of a timelessly stimulating track that perfectly encapsulates an era of hip hop, but rather a very real phenomenon that affects the wealthy. Who knew?!?!
Honestly, my first inclination was to say that this makes Drew Brees look bad. Then I thought about how pissed I would be I spent $150 dollars on a watch only to come to find out that said watch was only worth less than 50% of that price. Multiple that level of disappointment by approximately 53,333 and it becomes a bit easier to understand why the Saints' quarterback was infuriated when he found out the ring he purchased was "only" worth 3.75 million dollars. If we learned anything from this story it's that rap is an irrefutable commentary on society and Kanye West seemed pretty adamant that "diamonds are forever". Therefore, there's something quite fishy about one that supposedly depreciated in value by nearly FIVE MILLION DOLLARS over the span of three years.
Now, regardless of the fact that Drew Brees is more likely to impregnate than not during any given year, the claim of "cash flow problems" seems a bit disingenuous coming from someone that's made nearly 200 million dollars without even taking in account all his endorsements. Unfortunately, it's merely as ridiculous as an attorney talking about a jeweler who casually sells eight million dollar pieces as if he's the 'Joe the Plumber' of iced-out accessories. Due to nothing more than my sheer ignorance on the subject of seven-figure investments, I'm going to assume that both sides are at least a little wrong in waging a litigious war that can best be summed up with the hashtag #RichPeopleProblems.
Starting at 27:00...
TheScore- Jordan joined NFL Network's "Up to the Minute" on Friday to discuss a variety of topics surrounding the Saints' offseason including what they should do with the 27th overall pick. Jordan mentioned Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki and LSU pass-rusher Arden Key as potential targets before alluding to a certain Heisman-winning quarterback.
"If you're looking for an heir apparent, maybe give him the Aaron Rodgers treatment. Let him learn from the best for a couple years and then send him on. But I'm not putting here nor there, I'm just simply saying," Jordan said, according to NFL.com's Nick Shook before clearly mouthing "Lamar Jackson."
I know this may come as a huge surprise, but I have absolutely no idea whether or not Lamar Jackson will be a quality passer in the NFL. Granted, the process of draft analysis has required less and less analyzing as of late, but still. I don't have the knowledge of the position that Chris Simms used to declare him the most talented quarterback in his draft class nor do I have the unrelenting hypocrisy and borderline racial biases that Mel Kiper has used to imply that he's a glorified wide receiver in comparison to Josh Allen.
What I do have, however, is Cam Jordan's endorsement of Lamar Jackson as both a prospect and a potential heir apparent to Drew Brees' pocket. Considering he's just about the only person that believed in the Saints' ability to turn around a defense that was regressively historic in its own incompetence, I'd be liable to bid on the Brooklyn bridge if it were the apple of Cam Jordan's eye. Of course, I'm glad he's not making the final call on who to select 27th overall, but I do see why he might find the Heisman Trophy winner to be worthy of a rolling of the dice in the crap shoot that is the NFL Draft.
I mean, if there's one NFL coach that would embrace the opportunity to develop an unproven and non-protypical quarterback while simultaneously proving a large faction of the media to be dead fucking wrong then he resides in New Orleans. His offensive genius has definitely been made more apparent by the twin-esque telepathy that he shares with a future first ballot HOFer, and you just know that Sean Payton would love to prove it exists independent of Drew Brees with a player that couldn't possibly be more his polar opposite.
Now, that doesn't mean I want the team whose scouting department has gone HAM with the BPA strategy the last couple seasons to select Lamar Jackson if he's not a top their list at the time, but it does mean that I would follow in the gargantuan footsteps of Cam Jordan and be very excited if they did come to the conclusion that he could eventually take the reigns after some tutelage from one of the best to ever take a snap.
Make Room On The Tour Bus, Ben Watson Is Coming Aboard As The Saints Continue To Get The Band Back Together
The Saints are getting the band back together! I suppose it bears mentioning that the band only broke up after failing to strike gold, but the instrumental pieces are in place for this sequel to be one of the few that defies disappointment.
Unfortunately, as if you needed anymore evidence, this is thee most official of admissions that the Coby Fleener signing was a huge mistake. The Saints let a 34 year old walk and spent a bunch of money trying to reinforce his vacated role with youth and potential only to find themselves happy to bring back that same player in the same role at 37 years old. As much as that's a credit to the ageless athleticism of Ben Watson, it's just as much of an indictment of the person whose subpar performance made for a rekindling with the NFL equivalent of a senior citizen. In essence, nothing says "I royally fucked up" quite like sandwiching a defunct marriage to a younger women with relationships featuring the same damn person.
Now, normally I would temper my expectations regarding the addition of a skill position player who is so far on the wrong side of thirty that he can barely even see the right side of thirty in his rearview, but there's something to be said for Ben Watson having already proved the exception to that generalization. That's not to say I foresee flashes of '15 when he was padding stats like a poor man's Jimmy Graham, but I do expect him to at least match the numbers he put up in a much less proficient offense last season. As sobering as the following piece of information may be, doing so would somehow exceed all the contributions that Sean Payton got from a position that he has an undeniable affinity for this past year...
I fully expect them to look for a long term solution in the draft, but bringing a friendly face into a familiar formula turns a "must" into a want in the short term, and does so at quite the discount to what it would have cost them to add that other former tight end.
To be honest, I'm a bit concerned that the remaining structural flaws in the Saints' lineup are ever-present to those whose resumes of roster construction begin and end with Madden. We walk a weird line as fans, and it's one that borders on wanting to know what were talking about and also trusting that the people actually pulling the strings know a hell of a lot more than us. Simply put, if fan polling ran the free agency frenzy then New Orleans would be so far in over its head financially that Mickey Loomis couldn't even shovel their salary cap out of its cemetery plot. Therefore, it's a rare occurrence when the suggestions of the insatiable come damn close to mirroring the desires of the vigilant. If only due to unfamiliarity, this offseason has reached a scary, scary place in that apparently everyone wants nothing more than reliable pass catchers and viable pass rushers.
To his credit, Sean Payton has never been shy about addressing his team's wants and needs. That said, he's also rarely - if ever - sounded so adamant about fulfilling them while the manners in which he can efficiently do so are slowly dwindling. I suppose it's easier to sound confident about prospective additions when two of those three prospective additions don't necessarily have to be starting caliber players and your Assistant GM has proven proficient in pulling diamonds out of the rough throughout the draft process. Still, Sean Payton seems oddly uncompromising in a way that leads me to believe they aren't leaving a single stone unturned in building a championship-level team that's rock solid from the first man through the fifty-third.
Of course, that may seem pretty obvious considering Drew Brees' age and the Saints' Suh-sabotaged standing in the NFC arms race, but rarely due the observations of the largely oblivious resemble the to-do lists of those tasked with checking off the chores. The annual smokescreen has been lifted, and it revealed priorities that are so inarguable that it almost makes me want to argue them out of fear that I know too much.
For that reason, I'm glad he decided to mildly fog up his draft board with this gem...
The Saints Lost The Ndamukong Suh Sweepstakes To The Rams, Which Sucks More After Seeing The Details
Well, shit. And to think, I had already ironed out the kinks in my "Suh did the Saints a favor by going elsewhere" take before the 305 pound, irritable bull of a man trampled it to pieces by settling for a manageable one year deal with an in-conference contender.
It was probably the haunting memory of the salary cap crucification that was the Jairus Byrd experience that had me feeling skeptical about going all the way in on a player to serve as a final piece to Drew Brees' championship puzzle, but one year? One f'n year!?! Not even the most heavy-footed of diabolical douchebags could crush the incredibly cohesive culture that the Saints have built in a single season. Here I was resting myself assured that the team that signed Ndamukong Suh away from New Orleans would have to worry about their long term investment getting sued for going full-Donkey Kong on an opposing quarterback, but a contract that expires come season's end? Mickey Loomis has taken bigger risks than that at the craps table. A measly fourteen million? He's cleared more room than that while on the crapper.
Simply put, this sucks. It sucks to miss out on a player whose combination of size and skill is as enticing as his character is detestable that could have made a questionable defensive line dominant, helped to free up a DPOY candidate instead of complimenting the actual DPOY, and balanced out a secondary-centric defense. It sucks to watch yet another NFC team get even stronger than they already were. And it damn sure sucks to see them do so at a bargain rate that has very little, if any, long-term downside.
If the Rams' locker room were a beaker then you might want to stand the fuck back and cover your eyes when their personalties start mixing. However, if they manage to avoid an organizational implosion then a Wade Phillips' defense that's now equally as scary on the gridiron as it would be in a back alley will prove a far tougher test for a Saints' team that, comparatively speaking, is only marginally better on paper.
With a one year deal that one of the most "strictly business" players in the NFL will have to play relatively nice to match in annual salary next summer, I can't even lie to myself by saying that his presence as a disruptive force on the field is compromised by his proclivity to become a disruptive force off the field. Unfortunately, as undeniably unlikable as Ndamukong Suh is, I'd be lying if I said that the truth didn't hurt.
As much as we all want to believe that ceremonial acknowledgements of death are celebrations of life, I think it's safe to say that they are typically referred to more fondly than they actually feel in the moment. Much like everyone reading this, I have been to more wakes and/or burials than I would prefer and - no matter how alleviating the reminiscing can be at times - the somberness of the atmosphere dampens the mood to something significantly less than you might expect from honorary festivities.
Not that there's anything wrong with family and friends modestly cloaking themselves in black to damn near silently offer a final goodbye to a loved one. That said, I don't think I'm alone in saying that - prior to watching a pulsating procession in the name of the man they called Mr. B. - I have never been dealt FOMO from the collective paying of homage to someone I have never met in person.
So, all due respect to everyone that's ever arranged a funeral that didn't include thousands of people marching through the street to the beating of a city's heartbeat, but what everyone even mildly associated with his extensive Saints/Pelicans family did for Tom Benson was truly celebrate his life. It was genuinely New Orleans, as was the person it loudly, proudly, and merrily memorialized.
A Recently Fired Saints Cheerleader Is Suing The Organization For Discrimination, Which Feels Like A Long Time Coming
NYTimes- Like a lot of people in their 20s, Bailey Davis has an Instagram account. And as a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints, Davis said, she followed team rules and made the page private so only people she approved could see what she posted.
But when she posted a photo of herself in a one-piece outfit in January, Saints officials accused her, despite her protests, of breaking rules that prohibit cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie. For this indiscretion, and amid an inquiry about her attending a party with Saints players — another regulation that she denies violating — Davis was fired after what she said were three largely trouble-free seasons.
Now Davis has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws. The complaint accuses the Saints of having two sets of rules — one for the team’s cheerleaders, who are all women, and another for its players.
The complaint, which asserts that the rules in New Orleans reflect outdated views of women, follows a number of gender-related struggles in the N.F.L. over domestic violence and sexual harassment among players and league employees.
According to the Saints’ handbook for cheerleaders, as well as internal emails and text messages reviewed by The New York Times and interviews with Davis, the Saints have an anti-fraternization policy that requires cheerleaders to avoid contact with players, in person or online, even though players are not penalized for pursuing such engagement with cheerleaders. The cheerleaders must block players from following them on social media and cannot post photos of themselves in Saints gear, denying them the chance to market themselves. The players are not required to do any of these things.
Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave. There are nearly 2,000 players in the N.F.L., and many of them use pseudonyms on social media. Cheerleaders must find a way to block each one, while players have no limits on who can follow them.
The team says its rules are designed to protect cheerleaders from players preying on them. But it puts the onus on the women to fend off the men.
“If the cheerleaders can’t contact the players, then the players shouldn’t be able to contact the cheerleaders,” said Sara Blackwell, Davis’s lawyer. “The antiquated stereotype of women needing to hide for their own protection is not permitted in America and certainly not in the workplace.”
It is not clear if the cheerleading squads of other N.F.L. teams have similar policies, though Blackwell said she had come across information suggesting the Saints were not alone.
At the risk of making it sound like I condone the extensive and lopsided lengths that an NFL franchise apparently goes to in hopes of keeping the hands of their players out of the pants of their cheerleaders, doesn't it feel like this story was inevitable? Not to trivialize the plight of poorly compensated eye candy, but if wasn't a plight they willingly signed up for then this would most certainly not be the first we would be hearing of it.
There's been a lot of times in which the increasingly common stories of sexual harassment and/or gender inequality have left me appalled. This, unfortunately, was not one of those times. It's certainly not fair/right/moral that a cheerleader would have to immediately ask for a to-go box if an athlete she tangentially works with wandered into the restaurant where she happened to be dining, but I'm a little light on shock and awe that that's indeed the case. We are talking about a league that was decades late on even pretending that they care that far too many of their employees are domestically abusive. Therefore, I wasn't exactly taken aback when I read that the demands they make of those who are paid minimum wage to maintain a nearly impossible standard of pretty are higher than those they make of the athletes whose efforts make the ludicrously profitable product possible.
I would agree that it's insane to fire a cheerleader for wearing a one-piece bathing suit on her personal Instagram account when that's basically a three-piece business suit in comparison to her workplace attire, but it's also pretty insane that the cheerleading profession has survived the first three months of 2018. The idea that the repetitive clashing of skulls in organized warfare that's cheered on by oddly excitable women with long legs and exposed midriffs is thee most wholesome of entertainment isn't some new phenomenon that's exclusive to the Saints' organization. It is, however, one that is maintained by antiquated rules and regulations that promote objectification in a way that's only "bested" by the the business model of titty bars. Being tasked with protecting themselves against the advances of intimidating athletes shouldn't be an occupational hazard and being fired for failing to do so most definitely makes for a solid case of unlawful termination, but let's not like NFL cheerleaders signed up for the peace corp and got sold into the sex trade.
Eric Decker Was Reportedly Visiting The Saints, Until Sean Payton Shot That Report Straight Out Of The Cloud
I absolutely love this and by "this" I don't mean a denial that the Saints are looking for a slot receiver more trustworthy than the curious case that is Willie Snead IV, but rather the evidence that their head coach's disdain for the epidemic that is NFL insider-dom is everlasting. I don't know where Nicki Jhabvala got her information from, but - if, and only if - Sean Payton didn't just put her credibility six feet under then the first step in the recovery of her online presence should be tightening her circle of trust. I mean, goodness gracious, that attempt at halfheartedly sticking to her unloaded guns in the face of someone armed with the truth just had to be hard to watch.
Well, for everyone other than Saints fans that have bi-anually gotten beaten over the head by the rumor mill so incessantly that they take pleasure in watching the coach whose name has been run through it countless times take the rare opportunity to through a kink in its cycle, that is. For the Who Dat Nation, that proverbial choke slamming of the not-so-curiously anonymous "sources" was years in the making. It may have just been in reference to what wouldn't have been all that big of a news break, but - by basically breaking that "news" over his knee - Sean Payton reminded those that are far too eager to shoot their shot that he's got the ability to block it with the foremost authority. If that interaction wasn't a deterrent for other self-assured media types then at least it was proof that the person with unlimited animosity towards them still goes hard in the paint.
I don't say the following to kill the buzz of bringing back a player that, when healthy, helped to lighten the egregiously heavy load of the Saints' do-it-All Pro defensive end, but rather to state a fact. Alex Okafor did a hell of a job balancing a previously lop-sided defensive line, but increasing his salary by 150% on a two-year deal when he was only able-bodied enough to "prove it" for a little over half of his one-year deal is a sign of how much of a premium has been placed on quality pass rushers. I think he fits into a system that was far more effective with him than without him, but - generally speaking - athletes whose effectiveness is predicated on short bursts of speed aren't supposed to have leverage while recovering from Achilles injuries.
That may sound like a pessimistic take on a move that solidifies the only level of the defense that has gone unaddressed since the start of free agency, but - in actuality - it's just an acknowledgment of how difficult that level of the defense is to address. Even a rehabbing Alex Okafor is the best supplemental sack specialist the Saints have had since Junior Galette went full-Junior Galette, so signing him at a cost that might be considered an overpayment for someone in his position from another position was a necessity. Especially since the only other reliable alternative at this point would have been to tack on an arm and a leg to that $5 million dollar price tag to make a seemingly impossible jump up in the draft, and I highly doubt New Orleans was rushing to make a pass at Bradley Chubb.
There is risk involved with committing to Alex Okafor, but it's a hell of a lot less than the risk involved with committing to Ndamukong Suh and - not to doubt Mickey Loomis incomparable cap crunching - but I highly doubt they'd be able to do both.
Tom Benson Passed Away At The Age Of 90, But What He Was Able To Build In New Orleans Has No Expiration Date
To be quite frank, I am in no way qualified to write a tribute that comes anywhere to close to doing justice to Tom Benson's professional importance. As fans, we typically have a greater appreciation for the more public figures that have a tangible impact on the games that we find ourselves wholeheartedly invested in. That, of course, is a very simpleminded approach to sports, seeing as New Orleans might not have a home team to call their own if it weren't for the the late, great owner of the Saints. Still, it would be disingenuous of me to act like my greatest memories of Tom Benson aren't of him triumphantly twirling his patented umbrella and of him graciously passing the Lombardi Trophy to his brilliant head coaching hire who helped recruit a future HOFer to play quarterback. That's a pretty huge disservice to what he's meant to the business that he left in a far, far better standing than it was in when he acquired it, but - since those running the show from behind the scenes are likely to gain notoriety for the negative - remembering Tom Benson as a shockingly fleet-of-foot fan doesn't seem like all that bad of a legacy to leave.
People in such powerful roles aren't always what you might call...umm...approachable, so it's not even just the success of a franchise that survived a season and stadium altering storm to serve as inspiration for a region that was left in ruins by said storm that should have you in awe of Tom Benson's achievements. Rather, it's the amount of players - both current and past - that have come out in droves to show love for the man, and now legend, they called 'Mr. B'. The concept of franchises as "families" is one that is largely bullshit, but there's certainly something to be aid encouraging organizational kinship through action.
Now, I have a better chance of understanding the aerodynamics that keep jetliners in flight than I do of understanding all that goes into owning and operating a sports team, never mind two. Therefore, hearing about who Tom Benson managed to be as a person while engulfed in a business as cutthroat as professional sports is much more impressive to me than any day-to-day operations. If the thoughts, prayers, and general sentiments of those that worked most closely to him are any indication, who the Saints' owner was as a person was more or less the selfless ambassador of a state that benefited greatly from the life he led. So, on behalf of those, much like myself, that too often completely ignore the tip top tier of the team they root for, here's to Tom continuing to craft the 'Benson Boogie' for all of eternity. Something tells me it won't be a passing fad in the city that would have never had the opportunity to call themselves champions without him...
At the risk dehumanizing a player by referencing the sentimental value he possesses, I really can't help but appreciate this move far more than the addition of any old backup offensive lineman. It's not that I don't understand how important it is to have a player who is familiar with the system that can admirably fill in up and down a quality line that lost its most savvy veteran to retirement and its most trusted depth player to free agency. Still, as far as the 2009 Super Bowl Saints are concerned, those big, fat, diamond encrusted rings on their fingers will always factor into how they are judged. Admittedly, I haven't kept a close eye on the trajectory of Jermon Bushrod's career after he departed New Orleans, but the fact that he helped host the city's first party with the Lombardi might leave me inclined to believe that he's still got some gas in the tank until long after his transmission has quit on him.
I suppose it also helps he got Sean Payton's seal of approval. It's always good when the football minds make decisions based on the future, as opposed to fawningly reminiscing about the past. That said, you could tell me that Jermon Bushrod was only brought on board to fill the void left by Zach Strief's championship pedigree and I would consider it money well spent. Best case scenario is that he plays sparingly, but if the worst case scenario comes to fruition and he's left protecting Brees' blindside then at least he'll have some hands-on experience paving the way for a long playoff run on a young, upstart O-line.
So, the only remaining question is...who's next?
The Saints Finally Got Frisky In Free Agency, And The Reunion Is Back On But With A Much Different Guest Of Honor
This reunion might not have the same pop of the one that would have brought back one of Drew Brees' all-time favorite targets, but - if only because it makes one less former player to serve as a haunting reminder of badly the Saints' defensive coaches failed them in the past - I feel inclined to celebrate it nonetheless.
Watching the Eagles' Super Bowl run wasn't just painful because the Saints were merely ten seconds away from having the opportunity to put an abrupt end to it, but also because Malcolm Jenkins and Patrick Robinson - two players who were apparently unfairly maligned in New Orleans - made significant contributions to it. Now, the latter might not have lived up to his draft status the first go around, but the same can be said about an all-too-suspicious amount of players that went onto bigger and better things after making fundamental football look far too hard during similarly tumultuous tenures in 'The Big Easy'.
It's arguable that he was on his way to doing so in the black & gold, but what Patrick Robinson has done since leaving the Saints is morphed into one of the best slot/nickel corners in the NFL. So, if going back and watching his game-altering pick six in the NFC Championship Game doesn't wash the bad taste out of your mouth then the fact that he's proved his worth for three separate teams over the last three seasons certainly should. The Saints got much, much better at a position that requires a very specific skill set, and - from an optics standpoint - it doesn't hurt that they retroactively boosted their 2010 draft grade in the process.
I'm not going to pretend I spent a lot of time watching the New York Jets, never mind giving the eye test to specific members of their defense. That being said, if the eye-popping numbers don't tell Demario Davis' story then I'd hope that the grading of people far more studious than myself would....
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't exactly think you need to do a brain swap with Bill Belichick to come to the conclusion that you don't rack up 135 tackles as the league's 8th most efficient linebacker without having sideline to sideline range in today's NFL. I'm not quite the second coming of Mike Singletary, but 5 sacks and 15 additional close calls seems like a hell of a lot from the second level.
Lost in what was a long-belated defensive resurrection was that playing with the lead allowed the Saints to mask a suspect run defense, and Cam Jordan's DPOY-caliber season allowed them to squeak by with a lack of secondary pass rushing options. It appears both of those have been addressed with the addition of a versatile veteran coming off a career year whose attitude looks as though it will be a seamless fit with a young, rambunctious group that only stood to improve even without reliable reinforcements...
If absolutely nothing else, this gives Saints fans their "Jonathan Vilma" when they try to force comparisons between this team and the one that hoisted the Lombardi Trophy nearly a decade ago. To some, the "quality" of reminiscence might be just as important as his ability to bring 3-down stoutness to the middle of a defense whose primary strength is its secondary.
Drew Brees Turned Down Bigger Offers, And Both Parties Upheld Their End Of The Bargain In Keeping Him A Saint
ESPN- Fifty million dollars over two years might not sound like much of a discount. But considering that Drew Brees' latest extension with the New Orleans Saints includes just $27 million guaranteed, he might be as much of a bargain as anyone who signs in free agency this year.
A source said that at least one other team was willing to give Brees $60 million guaranteed over two years to try and woo him away from New Orleans.
“I’d be lying if I said it [wasn’t hard to weigh maximizing his value and raising the bar for other players versus helping the team],” said Brees, who was once a prominent member of the NFL Players Association’s executive committee.
“Because I know that when any player does their deal, they typically look at the comps and base their deal on those -- and what is 'market value.' ... I’m sure that one of these quarterbacks coming up -- Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins -- is going to set a new mark."
“But for me, this was about putting our team in the best position to go win a championship in the next few years. ... I’ve made it very clear from day one that I was always gonna be a New Orleans Saint as long as they would have me."
“I love my agent. I think he’s the best there is. ... But at the end of the day, my intent was much different in regards to building the team," said Brees, who noted that it was interesting to hear what other teams were willing to pay him for the first time in 12 years, since teams were free to negotiate with Condon when the "legal tampering" window opened on Monday.
"I've never had a chance to hear that, except for when I was hurt back in 2006,” Brees said. “But in most cases when my agent would begin to open his mouth about another team, I would not even let him finish the sentence."
I can't say I am surprised that someone who, despite rapidly nearing the big 4-0, still maintains top five talent at the quarterback position turned down far more alluring offers than the team-friendly deal he ultimately accepted in remaining the face of a franchise that he helped to resurrect. Business is business, but there was no reason to believe that he didn't mean it when he said he would be a New Orleans Saint for as long as the organization would have him. That's a credit to both his undeniable kinship to the city as well as the love and loyalty that exists between him and his kindred spirit in Sean Payton. However, let's not lose sight of the fact that were probably having a much different conversation if the team that asked him to compromise was closer to 0-2 form as opposed to being damn close to contending for a championship.
All the credit in the world goes to Drew Brees for taking a hometown discount on - at the risk of doubting his agelessness - what could easily be the final pay day of his career. However, at the very least, an honorable mention has to be offered to the likes of Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, and Jeff Ireland for building a complete team, seemingly out of nowhere, that made taking less money seem like a worthwhile sacrifice for their savior. Drew Brees may be the most understanding athlete to ever strap on a jock, but the leap of faith required for a future first ballot HOFer to commit the twilight of his career to a team that was marred in mediocrity and couldn't get out of its own way financially would make the Grand Canyon look like a puddle of piss. The Saints' braintrust had to be looking into a black & gold tinted rearview to believe that their roster was far closer to surpassing expectations than it appeared, and keeping disbelief in their blind spot ultimately paid off in that their quarterback's new contract doesn't seem anywhere near as impossible to pay off.
To the Saints' last two draft classes I offer the sincerest of gratitude, and to the feet of the men that orchestrated them I offer my lips. The Saints looked dead in the water before resurrecting themselves in a way that made it far easier for someone who could have easily set an asinine market to selflessly decide to keep walking on it for a franchise that has too often required him to be superhuman. I don't know where the franchise would be if last year's all-too-familiar start were a sign of things to come, but I do know we wouldn't have considered it anywhere near as inevitable that Drew Brees would continue to vehemently pledge his allegiance to it while better offers sat on the table.
As disappointing as it is that there will be no Jimmy Graham reunion in New Orleans that fully mends what was a seemingly broken relationship, it is pretty damn fitting that a disagreement over his value was the only thing standing in the way of a mutually beneficial reconciliation. I guess this is just another case in which I should have been careful what I asked for, because while I wanted the Saints to do it for old time's sake, I wasn't referring to them fighting to a stalemate in a monetary tug-o-war with a dynamic yet flawed offensive weapon. Oh well, I guess the Saints' hole at tight end is still one that's in desperate need of filling, but considering how familiar this all feels, I wouldn't be surprised if all they really missed out on was the opportunity to debate a player over a self-proclaimed position change.
The bad news is that the Saints' third down offense still needs some fixing, but the good news is that I don't have to look like a hypocrite for celebrating the return of a player whose weaknesses were far more glaring when he was viewed as a number one option. The truth is that I said some things that, while true, may have been exaggerated by spite, so - from a personal standpoint - it's nice that I won't have to force down my pride for the time being.
Now, I would have gladly welcomed the taste of my own foot if it meant a re-creation of an offense as unstoppable as that of 2011. However, if Jimmy Graham was too rich for the Saints' blood then it's safe to say, as is the case with most sequels, that the blown budget wouldn't have been worth the finished product. Simply put, without even seeing the Packers offer, I can say that whatever the Saints saved by matching it can be more efficiently allocated than by adding a luxury lifeboat to an already formidable offensive fleet. Considering how many times Sean Payton has worked his magic in finding diamonds in the rough, spending money on proven players to help the front seven and provide depth to the secondary were much more pressing needs than another pass catcher.
That doesn't mean it wouldn't have been pretty awesome to see Drew Brees exploit defenses with an old friend that who hasn't completely aged out of being a matchup nightmare, but knowing that it leaves them free to improve an up-and-coming defense makes it a missed opportunity that's easier to get over.