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Unger's surprise retirement leaves void on Saints

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By Mike Triplett | ESPN Staff Writer


A surprising twist hit the New Orleans Saints offseason when center Max Unger chose to retire with a year left on his contract. His decision was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN. Unger, 32, was one of the best centers in the NFL, and played at a consistently high level since joining the team as part of the landmark Jimmy Graham trade with the Seattle Seahawks back in 2015. He was selected for the 2018 Pro Bowl for the first time since the Saints acquired him.

It’s not clear how much salary cap space the Saints will recoup with Unger retiring, but they would have saved $6.95 million had they released him outright. He will remain on the books with $1.75 million in dead money from previous payouts. His $8.7 million salary cap hit ranked sixth-largest on the team....

The Saints will save $6.95 million in cash and salary-cap space that he was due in 2019. They still will have to account for $1.75 million in "dead money" against the cap from his previous signing bonus. ...

Full Story - ESPN.com

Report: Saints center Max Unger retires from football

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Saintswire Photo

By John Sigler | Saintswire

A surprising twist hit the New Orleans Saints offseason when center Max Unger chose to retire with a year left on his contract. His decision was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN. Unger, 32, was one of the best centers in the NFL, and played at a consistently high level since joining the team as part of the landmark Jimmy Graham trade with the Seattle Seahawks back in 2015. He was selected for the 2018 Pro Bowl for the first time since the Saints acquired him.

It’s not clear how much salary cap space the Saints will recoup with Unger retiring, but they would have saved $6.95 million had they released him outright. He will remain on the books with $1.75 million in dead money from previous payouts. His $8.7 million salary cap hit ranked sixth-largest on the team....

Full Story - Saintswire - USA Today

Saints Pro Bowl center Max Unger retires: report

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(Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

By Luke Johnson, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

In a surprising move, New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl center Max Unger has decided to retire, according to an ESPN report.

The 32-year-old Unger spent the last four seasons with New Orleans after coming over from the Seattle Seahawks as part of the Jimmy Graham trade. He was an ironman in that time with the Saints, playing 63 of 64 possible regular season games, playing more than 96 percent of the offensive snaps in each of those seasons. ...

Source - NOLA.com

Former Vikings guard Nick Easton visits Saints

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Getty Images

By Curtis Crabtree | PFT

Former Minnesota Vikings guard Nick Easton visited the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, per Field Yates of ESPN.com.

Easton missed all of last season for the Vikings after injuring his neck in the preseason. Easton required surgery and landed on injured reserve.

He started 12 of 16 games for the Vikings in 2017 before a fractured ankle injured his season in December.
The Vikings placed a second-round restricted free agent tender on Easton to keep him with the team last season only to lose him for the year before the regular season began.

Full Story - PFT

Ranking New Orleans Saints needs in 2019 free agency

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Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

By Josh Katzenstein, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune

NFL teams can begin negotiating contracts with free agents from other teams Monday (March 11) at 11 a.m.

Although these deals cannot become official until Wednesday (March 13) at 3 p.m. when the new league year begins, the start of the negotiating period signals the true start of free agency as agents or players can legally begin to see their value on the open market.

The New Orleans Saints have several players due to become free agents on Wednesday, and while they’ve expressed interest in retaining them, many of those players want to see their value on the market.

The holes on the Saints roster could change depending on which of their free agents stay or go, but here’s a ranking of the needs they currently have, from least to most important. ...

Full Story - NOLA.com

2019 NFL Scouting Combine winners/losers: Montez Sweat soars

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By Bucky Brooks | NFL.com Analyst | NFL.com

Winners

Montez Sweat
, edge, Mississippi State: No one has crushed the pre-draft process better than Sweat. The former Mississippi State star opened eyes in January at the Reese's Senior Bowl with a dominant week of practice and he's kept the buzz going with a spectacular performance at the combine. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound pass rusher clocked a 4.41-second 40-yard dash -- a modern combine record for a defensive lineman -- while also displaying impressive movement skills in drills. He moves like a wide receiver through the bags, exhibiting outstanding lateral quickness and change-of-direction ability. With Sweat also showing disruptive pass-rush skills on tape, he might have put himself in the discussion to be picked in the top five in some meeting rooms.

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama: Don't dismiss Williams' chances of finishing as the No. 1 overall player on most boards after the Alabama standout shocked the NFL scouting community with a sensational showing on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive tackle has a rare combination of size, speed, strength and power, ...

Full Story - NFL.com

Sean Payton reacts to Antonio Brown rumors

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By James Parks | 247 Sports

The offseason NFL rumor mill is in full swing, with reports already emerging that the New Orleans Saints are among a growing number of teams interested in Antonio Brown.

Now, their head coach has addressed the rumor personally.

Sean Payton says the Saints have not expressed any interest in making a trade for the wide receiver, but also gave a pretty serious qualification to that statement.

“No, and I wouldn’t tell you if we had,” Payton said to reporters at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. “Look, I’ve followed it a little bit like you guys have, and that’s really about it.”

Brown has requested a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the organization is prepared to grant him that request by seeking out a trade in the coming weeks. ...

Full Story - 247 Sports

Teddy Bridgewater is Saints biggest contract decision

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Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Not the biggest contract, but the biggest decision.

By Chris Dunnells | Canal Street Chronicles

We’ve spent a lot of time already on the biggest looming contract decisions the New Orleans Saints are faced with this free agency. Only 4% of CSC voters believed the most important issue for the Saints is a decision at quarterback beyond Drew Brees. Regardless of what CSC believes, Bleacher Report believes the biggest contract decision for the Saints this free agency is what to do with Teddy Bridgwater:

Like Brady, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is entering the final year of his contract. Brees turned 40 in January, but he’s fighting off age just as well as Brady, if not better. It’s unlikely he’ll want to retire within the next couple of years, so New Orleans should work on getting an extension done now.

There are two big reasons for this. One is that an extension might lower Brees’ 2019 cap hit of $33.5 million. That, in turn, could help free up some cash to extend with star wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has one year left on his rookie deal. ...

Full Story - CSC

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton: Possible replay changes must be thoroughly processed

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New Orleans Saints - Photo

John DeShazier | Senior Writer - NewOrleansSaints.com

Indianapolis – The decision of what modifications, if any, will occur with the NFL’s replay system remains in the shaping stages.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, a member of the league’s Competition Committee, said the group met Monday through Wednesday at the NFL Combine and made progress on several fronts.

“The process begins like this: The very first week of meetings for the Competition Committee is this week,” he said. “They started Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, and we meet with the coaches, we meet with the officials, we meet with the players union. There’s a lot of discussion that really begins that process.

“I thought we had three really good days here. There were a number of things discussed relative to the officiating and replay, but also player health and safety, where the game is going. Now, we’ll hone in on it and get a little bit more specific when we go to the spring meetings.” ...

Full Story - NewOrleansSaints.com

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