Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis stopped by the SportsTalk radio huddle with me and Bobby on Tuesday. Loomis gave us an update on how things are going in free agency as the Saints also look ahead to the draft next month.
One of Bobby’s first questions for Mickey was about finding a new starting LT to protect Drew. Loomis said that while Bushrod will be missed, he wasn’t completely surprised that another team made an offer the Saints just could not match.
“Jermon did a good job for us,” Loomis said. “I heard the same kind of concerns when Jamal Brown left us, and Jermon stepped in at that time and has done a good job for a number of years for us. So, the same thing will happen here. We'll find either a guy who's currently on the roster, or somebody we bring in, who will take the mantle who will step up and play that position. “
So, is the job Charles Brown’s to lose? Not so fast, according to Loomis.
“I think this: We've got a number of young linemen on the roster that we like. And they haven't been tested on fire, per se, but we like the things that we've seen so far. But I will say this: Charles has played in a number of games and has done well for us. He hasn't been able to stay healthy like we need him to...But no one's going to be handed the job. They're going to have to earn it. Charles isn't going to be any different than any player, in that regard.“
Click HERE to listen to our full conversation with Mickey Loomis...
With all the pressure to turn the defense around, we asked Mickey if he and Sean are heading into the draft looking to draft the best player available, or does think there may be value in going back in the order and go after a defensive player?
“That's a good question,” Loomis said. “I think the philosophy that's done well for us is to take the best player available. Now, what you hope for, and what often happens, is when you're picking, you'll have three guys who are graded...equal, then you get the option of selecting the position that better suits your needs. But, let's go back to Deuce Mcallister, the year we drafted him. He was clearly head and shoulders better than any other player we had on our board. So, we took Deuce, and that happened again a couple of years later with Will Smith. What you want is the highest grade of players to fit the need you have.
And, Loomis remained tight-lipped about whether there could be any further discussions on whether Drew or Roman Harper may restructure their deals. However, he did say that restructuring a massive deal like Drew’s would have serious long-term implications to the salary cap in the years to come.
“We're going to be, not as tight, but we're going to be tight again next year. And so, restructuring money from one year to the next isn't necessarily in our best interest. We've got to comply with a flat salary cap for a few years here, so pushing it off down the road just creates another problem for us, so we've got to be very careful about how we do that.
Loomis also commented on the signing of DB Kennan Lewis and TE Benjamin Watson
“Keenan Lewis is a great addition for us. I don't know who's more excited, for us to have him or for him to be back in New Orleans. So that's really refreshing when a good player who's from New Orleans is extremely excited to play for the saints. Ben Watson is going to be one of those 'under the radar' editions, and is going to be an important part of our team. He gives us another weapon at the position, he's a well-rounded player, and he's a veteran player who'll be good for Jimmy Graham and our offense in general. “