The Buccaneers won in free agency. The Saints didn’t.
While Saints fans will tell you that they still are in control of the cap situation, the loss of key free agents across the roster tells a different story. No, most teams shouldn’t want to throw a mountain of money at Trey Hendrickson or Janoris Jenkins, but letting so many free agents walk as the Bucs kept all of their starters should be a cause for some concern.
Of the departing free agents, the Saints lost their sack leader, second wide receiver, and starting tight end. They are also losing several depth pieces on the defense that played sufficient reps to count as losses.
Again, most of these departures were in the name of getting younger and saving money, but to pretend that there will be no changes or difficulties for this new-looking team is naive.
Throwing all of this on a new quarterback that still hasn’t won the job only worsens matters. The smart money is on Winston earning the QB1 role, but Thomas’ health is questionable, and the rest of the roster isn’t built for inconsistency from the most important position.
New Orleans still has some excellent players on both sides of the ball to rely on, but they will feel the loss of these free agents when the season starts, and that will only make life easier for the Buccaneers.