AFR: Top 10 Saints free agents signings under Sean Payton - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

AFR: Top 10 Saints free agents signings under Sean Payton

Drew Brees has proven to be the best free agent signing in Saints, and even NFL, history. (Source: Mark Lagrange) Drew Brees has proven to be the best free agent signing in Saints, and even NFL, history. (Source: Mark Lagrange)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Free agency is always a gamble in the NFL. The Saints have seen a mixed bag of results from the players they’ve targeted on the open market.

Here’s a look at the top ten of the Sean Payton era:

10.) Ben Grubbs

When Carl Nicks bolted for Tampa Bay in 2012, the Saints were able to soften the blow by singing Ben Grubbs. Though inconsistent at times, Ben Grubbs made one Pro Bowl during his four-year run in New Orleans.

9.) Curtis Lofton

Lofton came aboard in 2012 in the midst of the bounty scandal and was a solid force in the middle of the Saints’ defense. Lofton had three straight 100+ tackle seasons and never missed a game in black and gold. While not a Pro Bowler, Lofton certainly contributed enough to get on this list.

8.) Ben Watson

Solid, professional and productive. The Saints banked on getting all three when they signed tight end Ben Watson in 2013 and may have gotten a little more than they bargained for. Watson had a career year last year with the departure of Jimmy Graham. Watson is a free agent again this offseason and it’s certainly possible that he would return to New Orleans for a fourth year.

7.) Darren Sharper

Sharper’s life has taken a drastic turn for the worst since his playing career has ended. His off-the-field acts were nothing short of deplorable. However, in 2009, his on-field impact was undeniable. His ball-hawking ways worked perfectly with then defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ desire to create takeaways. Sharper finished the season with nine interceptions with three returned for a touchdown.

6.) Keenan Lewis

A local guy who has grown into his own as a player here in New Orleans. Lewis signed with the Saints in 2013 after four years in Pittsburgh and quickly emerged as the team’s top corner. His presence was sorely missed last year when he went down with a hip injury.

5.) Jonathan Goodwin

Goodwin stepped into the role of starting center during the 2008 season and was a solid glue guy in the middle of the offensive line for three years then returning in 2014.

4.) Scott Fujita

Sean Payton’s first signing as head coach of the Saints in 2006. From the second he arrived in New Orleans, Fujita ‘got it.’ He understood what the community was dealing with post-Katrina and embraced the uniqueness of the city and became a fan favorite. He also was a major contributor to the team’s Super Bowl run.

3.) Jabari Greer

Another 2009 signing that played a huge role in the Saints’ run to the Super Bowl. Greer immediately became a starter when he signed and had nine interceptions in his five seasons in New Orleans. Perhaps his value was even more realized when he wasn’t there. After being released before the 2014 season, the Saints didn’t have an adequate replacement and the defense suffered immensely.

2.) Darren Sproles

From his first day on the job in 2011, Sproles made an instant impact. He returned a punt during the season opener against Green Bay and became Drew Brees’ new weapon out of the backfield. That season, he set a record for total yards from scrimmage.

1.) Drew Brees

Simply put, the best move of the Sean Payton era. Brees went from damaged goods in San Diego to the best player to ever put on a Saints’ uniform. Brees owns every franchise passing record and is one of the elite players at the most important position in football. Not only is Brees the best signing of the Payton era, it may also be the best free agent signing in NFL history.

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