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New Orleans Saints 2021 free agency outlook

The Saints head into 2021 free agency coming off a 12-4 season. We break down their free agents, cap space, and more.

Trey Hendrickson of the New Orleans Saints after the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 01, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints could be in for a big change in 2021, as Drew Brees appears to be mulling over retirement after 15 seasons with the team. New Orleans still has a strong defense, but replacing the face of the franchise won’t be an easy task for a team that’s consistently finished toward the top of the NFC South for years. The Saints will have to make some big decisions regarding free agency this offseason.

Lost revenue due to COVID-19 will impact every team, but with so many free agents the likely drop in the league-wide salary cap number could make things difficult. The 2020 number was around $198 million, while the 2021 number could drop to anywhere from $176 to $180 million, according to Over The Cap, but is subject to change.

Franchise/Transition Tag possibilities

New Orleans made a serious investment in Taysom Hill last offseason by signing him to a two-year, $21 million extension. The gadget quarterback showed that he could win games as a starter when Brees went down with a rib injury this past season, but Jameis Winston could be the frontrunner to win the starting job in 2021 if he re-signs. Teams will likely be willing to pay to take a chance on Winston, though, and the Saints might not have enough money to compete with his suitors. If the Saints are going to tag anyone, it’ll likely be a defensive player.

Trey Hendrickson is one of the first names that comes to mind. The 27-year-old defensive end ranked second in sacks last season with 13.5. He was even with Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald in sacks but played less than 70 percent of the snaps because of his rotation with other capable pass rushers. New Orleans is pressed for cash, but Hendrickson is one of the few players that could be worth paying up for this offseason.

Salary cap

Estimated 2021 cap space: $74 million over the cap

2021 transactions

Free agent signings

TBD

Free agent departures

TBD

Trades

TBD

Notable unrestricted free agents

* Denotes Restricted Free Agent (RFA)

Saints 2021 Free Agents

Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
QB Jameis Winston Saints
RB Ty Montgomery Saints
RB Dwayne Washington Saints
FB Michael Burton Saints
WR Bennie Fowler Saints
WR Justin Hardee Saints
RT James Hurst Saints
C Will Clapp* Saints
EDGE Trey Hendrickson Saints
EDGE Noah Spence Saints
LB Alex Anzalone Saints
LB Craig Robertson Saints
CB P.J. Williams Saints
CB Ken Crawley Saints
CB Johnson Bademosi Saints
S Marcus Williams Saints
S D.J. Swearinger Saints
S J.T. Gray* Saints