New Orleans Saints
Brees contact still not resolved: Like everyone else around the league, the New Orleans Saints have been going through their OTAs. One big piece missing from the picture has been quarterback and team leader Drew Brees. Brees, a free agent and pegged as the team’s franchise player, has boycotted the practice sessions until the resolution of his contract situation. Former Brees teammate Darren Sharper explained his confusion with the situation in a recent radio interview.
“It still baffles me every day I wake up and I don’t see, on the bottom line, a new contract for Drew Brees,'' Sharper said. "I’m just confused as to why the guy that has led this organization has not been given a contract extension so he can be on board for years to come. … You just have never seen this happen to a franchise quarterback and Drew is a franchise quarterback in every sense of the word. Have you ever heard of Tom Brady going through a contract, stalled talks that have taken this long. Peyton Manning? Aaron Rodgers? Philip Rivers? … None of these guys have ever had to deal with a franchise tag and had to play out the last year of their contract and then go into the offseason.”
All five draft picks remain unsigned: The tumultuous offseason that has been that of the New Orleans Saints has left uncertainty throughout the organization. Now, the lack of structural management has slowed the negotiations with the team’s five draft picks. All five remained unsigned as the team has focused its energy on other situations. Much must be resolved before the summer.
Bevy of prospects battling for second receiver spot: With veteran Steve Smith locked in as the team’s number one receiver, a deep group of pass catchers will battle for the other starting job. Among those are Brandon LaFell, David Gettis, Kealoha Pilares, Joe Adams, Armanti Edwards, and Hubert Anyiam. Anyiam and Adams are both rookies.
Getting deeper at running back: After adding a bruiser with great pass catching ability in free agency (Mike Tolbert), the Panthers may have found their version of Darren Sproles. Enter Armond Smith, a 5’9” 194-pound sparkplug. Smith, a second-year man who rushed for over 1,300 yards in college, has many of the qualities of the explosive Sproles. In three games with Cleveland, Smith had three carries. He joins Tolbert, DeAngelo Williams, Princeton McCarty, Tauren Poole, Lyndon Rowells, Josh Vaughn, and Jonathan Stewart in the running back mix for Carolina.
Tatupu ready to take over for Lofton: The Atlanta Falcons organization knew that it had tremendous obstacles ahead after the end of the 2011 season. Pending free agents defensive end John Abraham, defensive backs Thomas DeCoud and Brent Grimes, offensive lineman Todd McClure, and linebacker Curtis Lofton had man y fans feeling uneasy about the future of the franchise. But somehow general manager Thomas Dimitroff managed to keep four of the five vital free agents, losing only Lofton (to the division rival Saints). Dimitroff replaced Lofton with former Pro Bowler (three times) Lofa Tatupu. Tatupu last played in the NFL in the 2010 season with Seattle, registering 88 tackles. After the season off, Tatupu is focused on returning to Pro Bowl form, even passing on potential media contacts.
"At this point in time, we'd just like to take a pass on it," said Brian Cearns, the Falcons' football communications coordinator. "Lofa's focused on the offseason and getting ready for the year right now, and would just like to kind of lay low for a while."
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