NFL rumors have been swirling around the New Orleans Saints because the team desperately needs to fix their 31st ranked defense. Many believed that task was more of a priority than anything on the offensive side of the ball. Saints management had something else in mind. According to ESPN, New Orleans decided to spend $36 million on Coby Fleener, a tight end that can work the middle of the field for Drew Brees.
Many will argue that Coby Fleener is worth all of that money. He’s just 27 years old and a former second-round NFL Draft pick. At 6’6″, 250 pounds, Fleener also has desirable size, especially if New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Jr. want to punish smaller defensive backs next season. Coby will more than likely become one of the favorite targets of Drew Brees.
Drew Brees knows full well how nice it is to have a reliable tight end. He had one for years in Jimmy Graham, who is now with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Wide receivers don’t have to face constant double teams from defensive backs when they’re playing with a dangerous tight end. Marques Colston, who is no longer with the New Orleans Saints, can fully attest to that because he caught a lot of passes thanks to Graham.
Fortunately for Coby Fleener, the offensive scheme that Sean Peyton has the New Orleans Saints running is very friendly towards tight ends. Ben Watson has been in the NFL for a dozen years, and his best season came when he was playing with Drew Brees and the Saints. Watson never caught more receptions in a season when he was with the New England Patriots or Cleveland Browns, so Fleener should continue to put up big numbers.
As good as Ben Watson was for the New Orleans Saints last season, he was only able to command a two-year contract worth $8 million. Many believe that the Baltimore Ravens got quite the steal. Watson should become one of the better weapons when quarterback Joe Flacco returns from a torn ACL. The overall contract amount for Watson is barely more than what the Saints will be paying Coby Fleener on a yearly basis.
While Coby Fleener should be quite an asset, the New Orleans Saints could have used that money on other areas of need on offense. The wide receiver spots could use an upgrade, especially after parting ways with Marques Colston. Bradin Cooks and Willis Snead are good, but there’s not much else in the cupboard. The Saints released longtime offensive guard Jahri Evans, so money needs to be spent on solidifying the offensive lines.
The money spent on Coby Fleener could have also been spent on the defense. After being released by the Los Angeles Rams, James Laurinaitis paid a visit to the New Orleans Saints. The veteran linebacker would have been a much-needed upgrade and could have made the defense respectable. Laurinaitis left town without a contract, and the odds of signing him are a bit less now that the Saints have committed so much money to Fleener.
NFL executives have tough decisions to make. They need to be able to justify the millions of dollars that they spend. New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis will point out that he needed to overspend in order to get Coby Fleener to leave Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. He can also explain that he spent the money to protect Drew Brees by giving him a reliable option in the middle instead of holding on to the ball too long and risking injury from taking sacks.
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