When we acquired Sproles from the Chargers, it was one of those beautiful synchronous moments in time. Like when amino acids started partying in the primordial soup and accidentally created life, except far less important to the creation of life on the planet earth. But synchronous. Because we had just parted ways with the inconsistent, oft-injured, and cap-heavy Reggie Bush and picked up in return a guy who was better, more consistent, and cheaper. His production the last three years has even made me forgive him for what he did to the Sooners in the Big XII Championship game.
Nobody was really shocked at our offseason axing of the beloved-but-again Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Jabari Greer. Cutting Lance Moore was a more bitter pill. But it wasn’t until we let Sprolesy go that most Saints fans started to hit the panic button. “Umm, management?” the fans are asking, “Will you kindly tell us (and therefore all other GMs and Player Agents) what the hell you’re doing?” To which Mickey Loomis has declined, because he’s not stupid.
With the resigning of Drew Brees two years ago and Jimmy Graham this year, we’ve had to shell out the big bucks for two superstars (something the Saints have little experience with. That’s taken some painful cuts, and more might be forthcoming. (If we cut Pierre Thomas, I think there might be a riot in the Marigny district of New Orleans, which will last for two and a half minutes because the rioters would be too drunk or too hipster to remember what they were doing.)
So those were longer thoughts. Short thoughts:
1) We’re starting to wonder what time horizon Mickey Loomis is looking at. Are we in “Win now” mode or are we in “Structuring” mode or are we hoping to pull off a Patriots-esque hybrid of the two?
2) Bigger than Sproles (literally and figuratively!), we’re shopping O-linemen Zach Strief and Brian De la Puente in free agency. This is terrifying. Brees cannot be his masteful wizarding self when he looks like a Wile E. Coyote-shaped grease spot in the turf. This is where the Saints are really playing Contract Chicken, and how that plays out will dictate by itself the answer to Question #1.
3) Lots of Saints fans are talking about grabbing either Dexter McCluster*** (Chiefs) or Golden Tate (Seahawks) to fill the Sproles void. Other Saints fans are thinking that we become a more trad-style rushing team and wondering if this is the year Mark Ingram starts to finally live up to his hype. Other Saints fans are drinking somewhere in the Marigny wondering why they were thinking about rioting.
4) Other big needs in this offseason: cornerback, safety, and wide receiver. (In that order — remember, we picked up Colston in the 7th round and Stills in the fifth round.) Unless we lose Strief and BDLP, in which case we’re drafting a cleric.