The entire Saints coaching staff descended upon Baton Rouge for LSU Pro Day, including Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis (who, by the way, I’m convinced has Secret Service and CIA-level technology to get in touch with agents and the who’s who in the NFL.) Loomis and company cleared more cap space this week by restructuring DT Broderick Bunkley’s contract and saved $2.5 million dollars. The Saints have over $4 million dollars of room with which to work, not including the recently inked deals for safety Rafael Bush and cornerback Champ Bailey.
The big question remaining for Loomis and company is the looming long term contract with tight end Jimmy Graham. “That’s a two way street, I think all of us would like to have things done sooner rather than later.” said Loomis. He offered no possible time table as to when a deal might be had between the Saints and Graham’s camp. “We’ll keep at it in the process. Obviously we want Jimmy Graham on our team when training camp begins. We’ll keep plugging away at the process” he continued.
I talked to Coach Sean Payton about a number of things at LSU Pro Day, and Payton told me they have a clear vision for Champ Bailey. “I think he brings a great deal of leadership, his instincts, and we believe in his skill set and the way he takes care of himself,” Payton said. “He’s gonna come in and compete and play at corner.” When you look at the money the Saints spent on Champ Bailey it makes even more sense. Bailey will count $1.5 million dollars against the salary cap in 2014. He was given a $500,000 dollar signing bonus. That is smart money!
Listen to my interview with Sean Payton here:
The Saints lost free agent center Brian de la Puente to the Chicago Bears this week and Tim Lelito appears to be the next man up on the roster, at least for the time being. “We’ll pay attention to this Draft, but we’ll continue to pay attention to any way we can improve our roster. We see Tim as someone that has that potential. There will be competition at that position.” Payton said. With the Saints up tight against the cap, I would expect to them to target a veteran in free agency after June 1st. Let’s see what they do in the Draft, and who gets released from other teams. Obviously, with Payton’s comments, it doesn't appear as though the Saints are ready to just hand the job to Lelito. Lelito started two games last season at guard for Jahri Evans and played well. Lelito landed with New Orleans after going undrafted in 2013 out of Grand Valley State.