The New Orleans Saints were one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL in 2014, posting a 7-9 record in the terrible NFC South and missed out on the playoffs. One of the biggest reasons for that was their terrible defense, an area they're definitely looking to upgrade via free agency this offseason. Here are their top three targets:
Jackson isn't an elite corner on the free agency market, but he's in the second tier and would fill a need for New Orleans. He has 50 pass deflections and 10 interceptions since being drafted since 2010, and his physicality will give this defense an edge they've been lacking.
Rey Maualuga won't be a star for the Saints, but he'll be a nice complementary piece and an upgrade on their linebacking core.. He finished the season with 35 tackles and one interception in 12 games in a backup role in Cincinnati, and is looking to make an impact somewhere he can start. The biggest knock on Maualuga is his lack of versatility, but his run-stopping ability would make him valuable in New Orleans.
Aside from the defense, the Saints really need to address their running back situation. Opponents keyed on Drew Brees and New Orleans' passing attack because the Saints had the worst ground game in the league, and they're losing Mark Ingram. They need to find someone who can produce on a relatively cheap contract, and Mathews is that guy.
The Saints would love to land DeMarco Murray, but he's likely out due to the high price tag he'll demand. Mathews has shown he can be really productive if he's healthy - and that's a BIG if - but that will drive his price down to the point where he'll be worth the gamble.
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