The New Orleans Saints aren't expected to be big spenders in free agency, but that doesn't mean they won't be aggressive. As they've done in recent years, they will try to find good value in the second and third tiers of free agency. Below are my top five realistic targets that could both energize the Saints' defense and fit into their budget: 1. OLB VICTOR BUTLER, Dallas Cowboys Butler makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. He worked with new Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Dallas. He's a young backup (age 25) who has shown flashes of pass-rush ability with 11 sacks in four seasons while playing behind stars DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. He would help fill the Saints' biggest need. He seems ready for a bigger role. And he shouldn't break the bank. 2. DL RICKY JEAN-FRANCOIS, San Francisco 49ers Another young backup ready to be promoted into a starring role, Jean-Francois (age 26) would be an especially great fit for a Saints team that is transitioning to a 3-4 defense. The former LSU standout has the versatility to play end or tackle in a 3-4, as he did in San Francisco. The Saints have shown interest in Jean-Francois, according to a source. However, he's expected to draw a lot of interest from teams in free agency, which could force someone to overpay. ... A couple of veteran linemen who might come at a good price include the Chicago Bears' Israel Idonije and the New York Jets' Mike DeVito.
Top 5 realistic free agent targets for New Orleans Saints defense
New Orleans Times-Picayune | Mar 12