NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - When free agency rolls around, it’s usually a two-part approach. On one hand teams can scan the league for available talent to fill needs. On the other, teams look inward at their own players and prioritize who to bring back.
In the Saints case, Mark Ingram may be the biggest name.
Both sides have expressed an interest in Ingram’s return to New Orleans. But the question will come down to money. Ingram is 29, not an ideal age for a free agent running back. But because he’s been a part of rotational backfield his entire career in the Crescent City, Ingram doesn’t have the usual wear and tear a back does when he creeps up on thirty.
Still the Saints won’t overpay for his services, and if Ingram’s wants more than what the Black and Gold are willing to pay, he could test the market.
Then there’s Teddy Bridgewater. With Drew Brees returning for at least another season, Bridgewater’s future with the club is unknown.
The former first round pick likely wants the opportunity to be a starter. He was QB1 before tearing his knee in 2016. The question becomes which team will give him that opportunity.
With Joe Flacco traded to Denver, Nick Foles reportedly is on his way to Jacksonville, and Case Keenum traded to Washington, Bridgewater could be considered one of the top free agent quarterbacks available.
A team like Miami could be in the market for a veteran signal caller. But if teams no longer view him as a starter, then a return to the Saints may not be out of the question.
On the defensive side of the ball, tackle Tyeler Davison may not make as many headlines, but his free agency may be one of the most important.
There’s need at the position with Sheldon Rankins out for months, and David Onyemata could be facing a suspension. Thus, the interior of the d-line looks a bit thin. That’s why Davison, a steady contributor, is a player the Saints should prioritize in bringing back.
Alex Okafor is also a free agent. The team drafted Marcus Davenport in the first round last year, with the expectation that at some point he’ll be their premier edge rusher opposite of Cam Jordan. Still, Okafor is a quality football player, at a position that’s not easy to find. But at 28, Okafor will want to get paid.
If the price is right, Okafor could be back. If he becomes too expensive, his days in New Orleans could be done..