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AFR: Breaking down Saints free agents

(Source: Sean Fazende)Ben Watson picked the perfect time for a career year. (Source: Sean Fazende)Ben Watson picked the perfect time for a career year.
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The Saints will not have much money to spend on the free agent market. The good news is they won’t need a lot of money to sign any of their unrestricted/restricted free agents. This is one of the weakest free agent groups of the Sean Payton era.

There is no player the Saints will fear losing to another team. However, there are definitely some the Saints would love to bring back at a reasonable rate. Should any of these players want to test the market, the team should undoubtedly allow them to do so.

Unrestricted Free Agents (16)

Ben Watson TE

Watson found the fountain of youth in 2015 with career highs in receptions and yards. He is one of the most respected players in the locker room and could certainly return. But at 35 years old, anything more than a one year deal would be unrealistic.

Kyle Wilson CB

At times he committed idiotic penalties, but when Wilson was on his best behavior I thought he contributed well to the Saints secondary.

Jamarca Sanford S

Sanford is a key special teams player who came up big during the season finale with an interception.

Kevin Williams DT

Williams was arguably the team’s best free agent acquisition in 2015, but like Watson he is getting up there in age. Thus, anything more than a one-year deal would be unrealistic.

Tim Hightower RB

More than just a great story, Hightower came up big when given the opportunity. He showed great vision and toughness down the stretch when Mark Ingram went down. I hope the Saints give him the chance to return, but Hightower turns 30 by next season so if they decide not to that would be understandable.  

Matt Flynn QB

He was almost called upon when Drew Brees injured his foot, but Brees gutted it out and Flynn never saw the field. I don’t think he will be on the team’s radar to bring back.

Luke McCown QB

One of Drew Brees’ most trusted teammates. He played very well in his one start against Carolina but was then lost for the season with a back injury. I’ll be curious to see how the Saints approach their backup quarterback situation this year.  Ideally, the Saints would like to only keep two on the roster but at the very least, they’ll likely have a veteran along with Garrett Grayson in training camp.

Kai Forbath K

I don’t think Forbath did enough in part of his season here in New Orleans to guarantee him the kicker job next season. I say he comes back but he will have to beat out another kicker to stay.

Michael Hoomanawanui TE

Decent addition who arrived via trade for Akiem Hicks. I think they like Hooman, but he also has pretty similar attributes to Josh Hill. It’s unclear if the Saints will bring back both of them.

Mike McGlynn OL

Reserve offensive lineman who was well-respected in the locker room.

Rafael Bush S

It’s been a tough run for Bush who finished on injured reserve in back-to-back seasons. The Saints are thin at safety so there’s a chance Bush could return though I’m not totally convinced he will be.

Travaris Cadet RB

Cadet may have saved his career with his effort in the final two games of the season. He showed the burst out of the backfield the Saints were hoping to get from CJ Spiller. Cadet shouldn’t cost much, the Saints should bring him back.

James Anderson LB

The Saints could be very thin at linebacker after the potential cuts. There’s a possibility Anderson returns.

Tony Hills

Chris Owens

Kendall Hunter

Restricted Free Agents (4)

Khiry Robinson

The most physical of the Saints running backs, Robinson only played in eight games this season and finished with four touchdowns. Depending on what happens with other players, the running back room is filling up fast. Robinson remains a name to watch as far as his future in New Orleans.

Senio Kelemete

A versatile reserve lineman who performed when called upon. The Saints like him and it’s likely he returns.

Tim Lelito

Lelito was a starter, then lost his job, then regained his job on the opposite side of the line. Despite his struggles, he’s well versed in the system and at the very least could return as a quality reserve.

Josh Hill

Hill’s season would have fallen right in line with others had his head coach not talked him up so much last offseason. Hill is more of an H-back than a traditional tight end and that’s the role he fits into this offense best.  

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