Head coach Dennis Allen will have a lot to take care of as he takes over as the next head coach for the New Orleans Saints. The most important thing Allen needs to figure out is who is going to be the play-caller under center for the team this season.
Should New Orleans clear up cap space to acquire a franchise quarterback? Should they re-sign Jameis Winston and give him another year as their starting quarterback? Or should the team draft a quarterback in a weak quarterback draft class this year?
New Orleans Saints need to get under the cap
First things first, the franchise has to clear up some money for space. They are dead last in cap space, and are sitting at -$76 million under the cap. Before the new league year begins on March 16th, the franchise must get under the cap, and it'll have to do so by restructuring contracts, trading, or releasing players.
Players like Marshon Lattimore, Taysom Hill, Ryan Ramczyk, Andrus Peat, Demario Davis, Malcolm Jenkins, Cameron Jordan, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara will most likely have their contracts restructured, converting more money into bonus signings and saving cap space for each player for the year.
It's unclear exactly how much money this would free up for the team's cap space, but it'd certainly get them closer to being under. Another thing New Orleans could do to clear up cap space is trade away some of the players listed above. The most likely player to get traded would be wide receiver Michael Thomas, as there were rumblings that the franchise could possibly trade him last year, and he certainly could be gone this offseason.
Aside from trading and restructuring contracts, the team could simply release players to free up cap space. It seems like the franchise has started doing that as it recently released kicker Brett Maher.
How should Saints address acquiring a quarterback for 2022?
New Orleans have three options at quarterback in 2022. They could re-sign Jameis Winston for another year after he tore his ACL last season, ending his 2021 campaign after starting 5-2.
The team could trade for one of the many franchise quarterbacks on the trade block such as Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, or Jimmy G.
They could also draft a quarterback with their 18th overall pick in the draft as there are a bunch of mid-tier quarterbacks who will be available when they pick.