New Orleans Saints
Jared C. Tilton: Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints Are Going To Stink Post Drew Brees

Entering the 2021 season, I am selling my stock on the Tennessee Titans and the New Orleans Saints. I already wrote about the Titans, now it is time for the Saints. Their QB situation is worrisome, something is up with Michael Thomas, and they are in salary cap hell going forward. I am completely out on the New Orleans Saints.

Quarterback Situation

Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill are two very different quarterbacks. Winston is a productive gun-slinger with decision-making issues, while Hill is an elite athlete whose arm remains a question. I will go to my grave saying Taysom Hill is not a franchise NFL QB, and I still don’t know why the Saints are still trying to mold him into one. The fact that the Saints have not named a starter yet is not good. I believe the saying goes, if you have two quarterbacks, you have none.

I expect Winston to win the job over Hill because he has a more talented arm and has a resume of being a starting quarterback. Good news for Jameis, Bruce Arians’ “air-raid” offense is a lot different than Sean Payton’s scheme. Jameis will not be forced to throw the ball down the field every play. The million-dollar question remains, is Jameis Winston the same quarterback who threw 30 interceptions with the Bucs in 2019?

Salary Cap Issues

I feel like the Saints have been up against the cap for five years now, and they were still able to offer massive extensions to guys like Ryan Ramczyk and Michael Thomas. For 2021, they have just around $11M in cap space but fast forward to 2022, they will be $34M over the cap. You can only push money down the road for so long, and the Saints will now bite the bullet.

The Michael Thomas situation is not good. Although I have heard that Thomas and Payton talked and made amends, something seems fishy. He chose to get surgery four months after the team had discussed, and now he will miss the first couple weeks of the season. Ever since he signed a huge extension, he has declined with his play and is at odds with the organization as a whole.

Silver Lining

Despite their roster issues for the immediate future, they do have an elite offensive-minded coach in Sean Payton and one of the league’s best general managers in Mickey Loomis. They have never been devoid of talent, and Loomis has proven he can draft at a high level. Their defense also has a number of studs, including Cam Jordan, Marshon Lattimore, and Kwon Alexander.

Their division, for the time being, is very top-heavy, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers returning all 22 starters from their 2020 Super Bowl team. But other than the Bucs, the division has an unproven team in Carolina, and the Atlanta Falcons have no semblance of a defensive scheme. If the Saints get their act together, they could come in second in the division, but I don’t see them making the playoffs in 2021.

For some reason, I think the Saints will have a similar season to the 2020 Patriots, who went 7-9 in the first year removed from Tom Brady. The Saints have more talent than the Patriots did last year, but the quarterback position remains an issue. They have an elite head coach, but other than Alvin Kamara, they don’t have a number of elite offensive weapons. I predict the Saints start off with a couple of wins, the QB looks fine, then the wheels fall off the bus, and the Saints finish with a record of 8-9 in 2021.

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