AFR: Breaking down the bank for the Saints

AFR: Breaking down the bank for the Saints

It's that time of year again. Every team spends money, but not every team gets the proper bang for their buck.

The Saints, like every team, had some misses on money spent. On the flipside, some players gave the Saints plenty of valuable production over their price tag.

Here's how they ranked:

Five Most Overpaid

5.)  Jahri Evans- $7M cap hit

It's not that Evans played bad this season, it's that he carried the second highest cap hit on the team. Combine that with the five games he missed due to injury and that's why he landed on this list. Despite a tough 2015, I think Evans returns in 2016.

4.)Jairus Byrd- $9M average salary

I'm not a Jairus Byrd hater. I think he played okay this season. But he certainly didn't play up to the most lucrative contract ever signed by a safety and maybe never will. The best part of about his season was that he played in 13 games. When a player makes that kind of money and the best thing you can say about them is that they played the majority of the games, that's a problem. He did finish with 52 tackles and one pick.

3.) David Hawthorne- $4.01M Cap hit

Hawthorne looked on as injuries and ineffective play relegated him to the sideline much of the season. Coming into the year, Hawthorne was looked at as the answer at middle linebacker. He quickly lost that job to Stephone Anthony. He finished the year with just 33 tackles and missed five games due to nagging injuries.

2.) Brandon Browner- $5M average salary

Browner was brought in to plug up the glaring hole at cornerback opposite Keenan Lewis. Instead, he became the newest hole. Browner set an NFL record for most penalties in a season and never looked comfortable in this Saints defense. His contract is such that it may he difficult to move.

1.) C.J. Spiller- $4M average salary

Spiller was supposed to be the next great dynamic piece out of Sean Payton's backfield a la Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles. It didn't work out that way. Not by a long shot. Spiller struggled with health and lacked the explosiveness that attracted Payton to him. He finished with just two touchdowns and was eventually a healthy scratch before being officially placed on injured reserve in week 17.

Five Best Bargains

5.) Ben Watson- $1.2M base salary

Apparently 35 is the new 25 when it comes to NFL tight ends. Watson proved it this year with career highs in receptions (74) and yards (825). Watson was also a steady veteran presence in the locker with the departure of Jimmy Graham.

4.) Brandin Cooks- $801,666 base salary.

The Saints' vision for Cooks when they drafted has come to fruition this year. Cooks displayed incredible speed and route diversity. He became Drew Brees' top target and finished with 84 receptions for 1138 yards and 9 touchdowns. Not bad for a guywho's base salary was under a million dollars this season.

3.)Terron Armstead- $615K base salary.

Of all the draft mistakes this regime has made in recent years, they did get one pick right in Terron Armstead. In his third season, Armstead looked like a player who is knocking on the door of elite status. Armstead was dominant most of the season, but he won over his coaching staff and teammates when he gutted out an incredible performance in week 16 against Jacksonville.

2.) Willie Snead- $435K base salary.

From camp body, to the Saints number two wide receiver. It's been an incredible rise to prominence for Willie Snead. Snead flirted with a thousand yard season as he consistently moved the sticks for Drew Brees with near flawless route running and quickness. His football intelligence has me thinking Snead can be a key contributor for years to come. Snead's final stat line was 69 receptions, 984 yards and three touchdowns. Who saw that coming???

1.) Delvin Breaux – $439K base salary

Perhaps the best find of the Sean Payton era. Breaux isn't just a great story, he truly is a great player and has Pro Bowl potential. As a true lock-down corner Breaux emerged as the team's top defensive back and consistently guarded the opposition's best wide receiver. He led the team with three interceptions and 19 pass breakups. With a miniscule $439,000 base salary, Breaux takes the title of this year's Saints best bargain.