New Orleans Saints Free Agency 2023
The Saints went 7-10 in the 2022 NFL season and missed the playoffs under head coach Dennis Allen. Their focus now shifts to the 2023 offseason and NFL Draft. The team has needs to fill with some key pending free agents. Here’s what you need to know about the New Orleans Saints free agency situation for 2023.
New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL Free Agents Overview
The Saints struck early on the Free Agent market agreeing to a deal with former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. Carr was released by Las Vegas last month and agreed to a 4-year deal worth a reported $150 million with New Orleans. Last season’s quarterback Andy Dalton is a free agent after signing a one-year deal in 2022.
Tight end Juwan Johnson is a restricted free agent after having a career-high 508 receiving yards. He led the Saints with seven touchdown receptions in 2022. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry hits free agency after playing in just nine games during the 2022 season.
30-year-old David Onyemata is a free agent after registering five sacks in 2022 as a pass rusher. Other defensive linemen with expiring contracts include Marcus Davenport, Kentavius Street, and Shy Tuttle.
Unrestricted Saints Free Agents
To be an unrestricted free agent, there are a couple of qualifications. An NFL player must have four or more years of experience and their contract has to have expired or been voided. They can negotiate with any team without any restrictions or draft-choice compensation. Here’s a list of Saints players who are unrestricted free agents.
Andy Dalton – QB
Mark Ingram – RB
David Johnson – RB
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends
Deonte Harty – WR
Jarvis Landry – WR
Centers, Guards, and Tackles
Ethan Greenidge – T
Defensive Tackles, Defensive Ends, and Edge Rushers
Marcus Davenport – DE
Kentavius Street – DE
David Onyemata – DT
Shy Tuttle – DT
Kaden Elliss – OLB
Cornerbacks and Safeties
Bradley Roby – CB
P.J. Williams – CB
Justin Evans – S
Daniel Sorensen – SS
J.T. Gray – SS
Restricted Free Agents
A restricted free agent is a player who has played for three or fewer accrued seasons and has an expiring contract. The team can assign a tender to the player, which allows them to match any offer the player receives from other teams. The team receives draft compensation if the player signs elsewhere.
2023 NFL restricted free agents for the Saints
Marquez Callaway – WR
Andrew Dowell – LB (exclusive rights free agent)
Blake Gillikin – P (exclusive rights free agent)
Chase Hansen – LB
Albert Huggins – DT
Juwan Johnson – TE
Salary Cap and Roster
The team has moves to make if it wants to be under the cap for the 2023 season. Projections from Spotrac are not looking pretty in terms of cap space. The NFL salary cap for the 2023 season is $224.8 million.
The Saints were able to restructure contracts with Marcus Maye and Erik McCoy to save over $12 million. Quarterback Jameis Winston is a possible cut to save cap room as his hit is $15.6 million for 2023. Other major cap hits go to Cameron Jordan at $25.6 million and Marshon Lattimore at $22.5 million.
You could see players like Lattimore and offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk restructure as well to clear more space for free-agent signings. The Saints also have the 29th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. They took wide receiver Chris Olave with their first-round pick last season and he had a solid rookie campaign.
Also, the fate of wide receiver Michael Thomas is still up in the air. He might be looking for a fresh start on a new team. He signed a five-year deal worth over $96.2 million in 2022.
It will definitely be an interesting New Orleans Saints offseason for general manager Mickey Loomis. The team will have to improve key positions in free agency or the draft.
Saints Free Agency 2023 FAQs
NFL free agency will commence on March 15, 2023. It begins at 4 p.m. eastern time. The date signifies the start of the new league year and the end of all player contracts. Many players are set to hit the market and gain free agency status.
An unrestricted free agent is a player whose contract has expired, and they have no ties to their former team. Starting on March 15, they are free to negotiate with any team in the league without restrictions.
A restricted free agent can be extended what is called a qualifying offer. If offered, they are still allowed to negotiate with other teams around the league. Their current team is allowed to match any offer.
There is a “legal tampering” period that begins on March 13. Teams can talk to certified agents but no signings can be made until free agency is official.