Latest draft

2014 Draft Class

 1 20 Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver

2 58 Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Cornerback

4 126 Khairi Fortt, Linebacker

5 167 Vinnie Sunseri, Safety

5 169 Ronald Powell, Linebacker

6 202 Tavon Rooks, Offensive Tackle

Analysis: With their first pick in the 2014 draft, New Orleans picked up where it left off in 2013: Brandin Cooks is going to fit beautifully in Payton’s offense and is likely to be a starter from day one, alongside Marques Colston and Kenny Stills. Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste is likely going to be a backup for most of the season, barring any injuries in the secondary. If history repeats itself - and Saints fans hope it doesn’t - one or two of the draftees will not play in a single game this season. My money would be on linebacker Ronald Powell, who has a history of knee injuries and was a bit of a gamble in this draft.

The Gem: The explosive, multitalented Brandin Cooks will quickly make Saints fans forget about the lethargic offense of 2013.

Ugh: With the great success they’ve had with Mark Ingram and Roman Harper, the Saints decided they needed another Bama player in Vinnie Sunseri. All joking aside, this was a baffling pick: safety wasn’t a position of need for New Orleans. The Saints can only hope to have somehow gotten a steal.

Grade:The jury is obviously still out, but this group of draftees has its work cut out for it if they’re going to match the early production of the 2013 class.

Something to monitor

Chris Graythen

From Mike Triplett: “At some point during the first quarter Sunday in Cleveland, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will almost certainly pass John Elway for fourth place on the NFL’s all-time passing list. Brees has 51,414 career passing yards. He needs 62 yards to pass Elway. He’ll need another 10,000 to crack the top 3 of Brett Favre (71,838), Peyton Manning (65,233) and Dan Marino (61,361). Brees is already fourth in NFL history in career touchdown passes with 364 — also trailing Favre (508), Manning (494) and Marino (420).”

Glad somone is asking questions....

Former FBI director Robert Mueller had barely been named to head the NFL’s independent investigation into its handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and the move was being widely criticized.

The president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which has called for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign, questioned whether the investigation would be independent because the league has hired Mueller who works for a law firm that has represented the NFL. In addition, the investigation is being overseen by two owners.

WilmerHale has worked with the the league on variety of matters, such as the NFL Sunday Ticket broadcast package. In addition, Dick Cass — team president for the Ravens, who cut Rice on Monday — worked for WilmerHale before moving to his current role.

USATODAY

Robert Mueller: From al-Qaeda to the NFL

"That sounds like an insider investigation,” O’Neill told USA TODAY Sports Thursday. "There needs to be a truly independent, top-to-bottom review by individuals who have full authority to gather all the facts and to suggest solutions.”

Attorney Peter Ginsberg, who represented then-New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma during an investigation into allegations that members of the Saints earned bonuses for inflicting injuries on opposing players, expressed skepticism about the league’s plan. He pointed out that the NFL appointed an independent investigator, former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, and her “Bountygate” investigation “failed significantly.”

Goodell named former commissioner Paul Tagliabue to hear appeals from defensive players Vilma, Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove. Tagliabue affirmed Goodell’s factual findings that the Saints operated a bounty program from 2009-11. But his decision to vacate all penalties wiped Goodell’s suspensions and fines off the board, signifying Tagliabue felt Goodell overreached in issuing his sanctions.

"It’s also important to remember the last time the commissioner appointed a supposedly independent investigator that person was co-opted by the NFL and failed significantly in her responsibilities truly to investigate,” Ginsberg told USA TODAY Sports, referencing White. "So the idea that commissioner Goodell is the person appointing an independent investigator is troubling.”

But attorney John M. Dowd, who conducted an investigation into the Pete Rose gambling scandal for Major League Baseball in 1989, said the criticism is unwarranted — in part because the NFL picked Mueller to lead the investigation.

USATODAY

Armour: NFL can’t spin its way out of Ray Rice mess

"I don’t think it’s fair criticism,” Dowd told USA TODAY Sports. "I think you’ve got to wait until he’s done and see his work product and then make any judgments you want to make.

"Bobby Mueller is an outstanding lawyer, an honest man, and has a reputation to protect,” Dowd said. I think he’ll just do a straight job.”

Dowd said also he had no qualms about New York Giants owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney overseeing the investigation.

"I reported to the commissioner and the deputy commissioner of baseball,” Dowd said. "You’ve got to report to somebody.

"The real key to all these investigations, inside the government or outside the government, is that they be done with integrity.”

Mara and Rooney issued a joint statement Thursday and said they had been in contact with Mueller. The owners said the investigation will be independent and the final report will be made public.

"Our role is not to conduct or direct the investigation but to support Mr. Mueller and assist him in gaining whatever access or resources he needs,” the statement reads. "At the conclusion of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, we will receive his findings on behalf of the league’s owners.

"Our sole motive here is to get the truth and then share Mr. Mueller’s findings with the public."

Mueller is preparing to begin the investigation, according to the statement.

"No timeline was established and we stressed that he should take as much time as necessary to complete a thorough investigation,” the statement read. "We agreed that the scope of the investigation should be aimed at getting answers to specific questions, including what efforts were made by league staff to obtain the video of what took place inside the elevator and to determine whether, in fact, the video was ever delivered to someone at the league office, and if so, what happened to the video after it was delivered.”

O’Neill also criticized the NFL for focusing only on the Rice controversy.

The questions largely surround the surfacing of a second video recording that shows Rice striking his then-fiancee unconscious in an elevator in a hotel casino in Atlantic City, N.J. The NFL has said it did not see the video until it was released by TMZ on Monday, but a law enforcement official told The Associated Press in a story published Wednesday that he sent the video to an NFL executive five months ago.

"To bring in an insider or a quasi-insider and to call it an independent investigation and then to narrow the scope only to look at the Ray Rice incident is continuing on in this mode of minimizing, diminishing, throwing under the rug (the problem of domestic violence)…" she said, adding that she thinks the NFL is simply hoping "the media wanders away and the fans will forget.

"The fans are not going to forget this, and they’re not going to forget because Mr. Goodell is once again handling the issue completely wrong.”

O’Neill did say Goodell recently took positive steps by reaching out to the National Network To End Domestic Violence and strengthening the league’s policy against domestic violence.

"So I do see some movement,” she said. "But the overarching picture you get is of an individual who only wants do as little as he can possibly get away with, so he can go back to the business of making money in the same old way without making any changes in his organization.”

Perspective

Dilip Vishwanat

Wait…. you’re crapping over THAT game? Why?

The Patriots called. They wished they coulda lost by a FG in overtime instead of getting their ass kicked 33-20 by the Dolphins. New England OWNS the AFC East even more than the Saints own the Falcons and they got stomped.

S*** happens.

And that’s all the game between the Saints and Falcons yesterday was to me. Yeah, some folks (a LOT of them actually) wanna read more into it. The sky-is-falling crowd is having an orgy of poop right now.

Look, it’s just this simple. A broken clock is right twice a day. The sun sometimes shines on the back of a baboon’s ass. And the Falcons were eventually gonna get another win. The Saints were 13-3 during the Payton/Brees era against the Falcons NOT 16-0. Which means that they will lose a game here and there.

So what?

That’s the Falcons. They get themselves so fired up to play the Saints and they bring everything including the kitchen sink to every single game. On the other hand, Sean Payton and his team, no matter what they say publicly, aren’t really all that concerned about the Falcons because they beat them so much. Yeah, sure, they know they’ll get a tough game, but they EXPECT to win. Just like the 49ers of the 80’s and 90’s did against Jim Mora’s Saints.

Hey, wake me when the Falcons do something other than get a split from Payton’s Saints every once in a blue moon. They are 4-13 against Drew Brees and 3-12 against Sean Payton. And that’s soon to be 4-14 and 3-13 when they come to The Dome. And wake me again when they can do something other than win one playoff game during the last six seasons of Mike Smith and Matt Ryan. But, their fans sure do love to brag about them being a perennial playoff team with five straight winning seasons before last year’s debacle. Yeah, okay. That and a bus token will get you a ride thru downtown Atlanta.

It’s who they are, folks. And one game doesn’t change a thing.

Anyway, for those of you that may have lost your "cockiness and swagger" (read that in a thread last night, geesh!) because of this loss, well, that’s on you. Maybe you just weren’t that confident in the first place? There is a BIG difference between confident and cocky, ya know.

As for me, (and Tommy V, awesome Saints fan), not a damn thing has changed. The only thing that loss did was deny me the usual helping of LULZ that I get every time the Falcons lose to the Saints. From their players, coaches, owner, and fans. It’s quite fun, ya know. But, it did give me another variety of lulz. A very smug form of satisfaction from knowing that Falcons fans have become even more invested in their communal delusion about their team. Only to be smacked back into reality later.

Now, THAT s*** is hilarious.

Okay, I’m done. What? Were you expecting another sermon to get you all fired up again? Why? Oh, please. It was only the Falcons.

Shook Ones: "But, Dawg! You aren’t being generous or gracious in defeat!"

Um, what part of "Oh, please. It was only the Falcons" DIDN’T you understand?

Interesting read

Peter Ginsberg walked down this same path two years ago with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s appointment of a “supposedly independent” investigator.

The attorney for then-New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday that Goodell’s appointment of an outside investigator to look into the mismanaged Ray Rice fiasco is “troubling.”

Ginsberg added he hopes league owners “make the right decision” on Goodell, observing the NFL Players Association, “Ought to have a say in who that independent investigator is.”

USATODAY

Robert Mueller: From al-Qaeda to the NFL

According to a person familiar with the union’s thinking, the NFLPA was not consulted by the league as part of the process of appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller III for the internal investigation of the Rice domestic violence incident. The person requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The union cannot comment until receipt of a disciplinary letter from the league on Rice’s indefinite suspension, the person said.

Can Goodell survive the second crisis of his credibility within two years given how the NFL is a $10 billion a year public trust?

"Thus far, the owners have allowed Goodell to exercise poor judgment on countless occasions and they have permitted him to keep his job,” Ginsberg told USA TODAY Sports. "So I’m hoping that at some point, there’s a real honest review of his tenure. And that the owners make the right decision — whatever that is.”

Goodell also appointed New York Giants co-owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers president/owner Art Rooney II to provide oversight of Mueller’s investigation. The announcement of that investigation came hours after the Associated Press published a Wednesday report citing an unnamed law enforcement official had claimed to send a video DVD to the league office five months ago of the former Rice knocking out then-fiancé (now wife) Janay Palmer inside a New Jersey casino elevator Feb. 15.

The league said in a statement the final report will be made public, noting Goodell has pledged the full cooperation of NFL personnel and access to all league records.

USATODAY

Bell: New twist in Ray Rice saga puts heat on Roger Goodell like never before

Nonetheless, Ginsberg said confidence in Goodell’s leadership has been seriously eroded based on a second mishandled disciplinary matter within a two-year span.

"Commissioner Goodell’s judgment once again has to be called into question either by his actions of omission or commission,” Ginsberg told USA TODAY Sports.

Ginsberg was there front and center two years ago in the middle of Goodell’s initial firestorm that undermined player confidence in his disciplinary powers when former Commissioner Paul Taglibue issued a strong rebuke of Goodell, vacating his harsh suspensions of four players including Vilma over the Saints’ alleged bounty program.

Ginsberg noted the last time an independent investigator was appointed, former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White, her “Bountygate” investigation “failed significantly.”

Goodell appointed Tagliabue to hear appeals from former Saints defensive players, Vilma, Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove. Tagliabue affirmed Goodell’s factual findings that the Saints operated a bounty program from 2009-2001. But his decision to vacate all penalties wiped Goodell’s suspensions and fines off the board, signifying Tagliabue felt Goodell overreached in issuing his sanctions.

Now the heat on Goodell continues to rise after 12 Democrats from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Goodell on Wednesdsay demanding more transparency in how the league conducted its investigation into the Rice domestic violence incident.

USATODAY

Congress probes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Ray Rice case

"It’s also important to remember the last time the Commissioner appointed a supposedly independent investigator that person was co-opted by the NFL and failed significantly in her responsibilities truly to investigate,” Ginsberg said, referencing White. "So the idea that commissioner Goodell is the person appointing an independent investigator is troubling.”

Ginsberg continued his criticism wondering about Goodell’s power, those influencing his decision making and the fallout that will come from the investigation.

"No one can lose sight of the fact that these underlying events are horrific. But how Goodell and the NFL are handling this I think reflects another instance of Commissioner Goodell not warranting the discretion and the authority that he has grabbed and to some extent the union has allowed him to take,” Ginsberg said. "The people who are responsible for investigating the Rice incident are the same people who let down the NFL and the NFL players in StarCaps and in BountyGate and even in being overly aggressive for offenses like marijuana usage. Those people need to be held accountable."

Should Tagliabue have been asked to play a significant role in the league’s independent investigation this time as well?

"I think commissioner Tagliabue is an honorable and decent person. But his loyalty is still to the NFL shield,” Ginsberg said. "I think a truly independent person should be appointed.”

So then Mueller isn’t the right choice given his ties to the league?

"I’d rather not comment on that right now,” Ginsberg said. "But I think the union ought to have a say in who that independent investigator is.”

Jeff Gross

From Mike Triplett: “Coach Sean Payton addressed the issue with players this offseason and broke down relevant statistics. He also made some tweaks in practice, pumping in crowd noise as early as summer organized team activities for the first time in his head-coaching tenure. And Payton and Brees have stressed the importance of communication. More importantly, Payton and the Saints’ staff have tried to emphasize the specific areas where they fell short in those road losses last season.”

It ain't over till....

Listen, I get it. You’re disappointed and feeling gut punched right now. But, it really isn’t over yet. So, here’s a little something to wrap your heads and spirits around. Since the beginning of the 21st century only two #1 seeds have won the Super Bowl. The 2003Patriots and and YOUR 2009 Saints. Six of the past thirteen Super Bowl champions have been a 4th seed or lower. Including the last 3 consecutive Super Bowl winners

 The 2010 Packers, 2011 Giants, and 2012 Ravens were no better than the 2013 Saints during the regular season. Don’t let yourselves get caught up in some false idea of what a championship caliber team looks like. Instead, try a little good old fashioned "I believe"like our very own vjdancer.

Until all the games are played and the Saints aren’t Super Bowl champs - I will believe it’s possible.

You never know. You might get surprised. Just like the fans of some of the teams above.

Interesting CSC.com article in 4 parts

Poor Safety Play Doomed the Saints in Atlanta

By JR Ella  @BornInBlues on Sep 10 2014, 6:00a 33 

Missed tackles plagued the Saints last Sunday. - Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The combination of safeties Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro was expected to be one of the New Orleans Saints defensive strengths. In their 34-37 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday, safety play was one of the Saints big weaknesses

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In losing 34-37 in overtime to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints displayed a defensive ineptitude worthy of former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s best days in New Orleans. The Saints gave up 568 total yards, including 448 passing yards to quarterback Matt Ryan. They also surrendered 28 first downs and 123 rushing yards.

Making matters worse, the Falcons defense gave up 472 total yards (333 yards passing), 30 first downs and 139 yards rushing. Meaning that a merely adequate showing by the Saints defense would have likely resulted in a Black and Gold win.

What was so awful defensively for the Saints? Everything! There were so many whiffs and busts I had a hard time picking what dreadful sequence to “highlight” for you. Thankfully, the play of New Orleans highly-touted safeties got me out of my dilemma, while making my stomach turn like bad gumbo from a Seattle “Cajun” restaurant.

After reviewing the tape, one painful evidence was the ineffectiveness of the game plan by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Even more alarming was the lack of adjustments as the game wore on. The Saints were “buried two deep” the whole game and never could dig themselves out. It basically seemed as though Ryan had hammered into his defensive backs -namely his safeties, that he didn’t want them to get beat over the top. They sure didn’t let the ball get behind them, but they got exploited nonetheless.

Let’s take a look.

From interesting csc.com article

Here, Grab this Soft Cushion

Trailing 6-0 in the first quarter, the Falcons mount their first effective drive from their own 16-yard line after a three and out in their first possession of the game. They line up with an 11 personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers). New Orleans shows a four down linemen front.

***

From the Coaches Film view, New Orleans has a single deep safety in Jairus Byrd (#31, red circle) while strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (#32, blue circle) stands about 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.

 

***

The focus here is the continuing theme of the Saints safeties playing incredibly deep. With Atlanta now on their 33-yard line after Ryan had completed a 17 yards pass to wide receiver Harry Douglas, Vaccaro and Byrd are still playing almost 20 yards away from the line of scrimmage (blue line).

 

***

Two plays later, with the Falcons having advanced to New Orleans’ 47-yard line, the Saints are once again in a deep cover-two alignment, with Vaccaro (#32, blue circle) and Byrd (#31, red circle) as far as 24 yards from the line of scrimmage.

 

***

Two snaps later, with the Falcons now on the Saints 30-yard line after gaining another 17 yards, Vaccaro (#32, red circle) motions Byrd (#31, blue circle) to move up closer to the line. This was quite an interesting thing to see, as it almost looked as though Byrd, coming off offseason back surgery, didn’t trust his recovery speed enough in case a Falcons wide receiver sprinted past him.

 

***

Byrd and Vaccaro run towards the line of scrimmage, as Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan  fakes a handoff to running back Jacquizz Rodgers (yellow circle).

 

***

Ryan throws a quick swing pass to wide receiver Julio Jones (#11, yellow circle) and both Saints safeties turn towards the receiver who is likely headed to the end zone. Thanks to Vaccaro telling him to move closer to the line of scrimmage, Byrd (#31, blue circle) can redirect himself towards Jones with a chance to catch up with the speedy receiver before he reaches the end zone.

 

***

Vaccaro (#32, red arrow), in an uncharacteristically sloppy game for him, overruns the play and whiffs on the tackle. Meanwhile, Byrd (#32, blue circle) has the angle to get to Julio Jones (#11, yellow circle).

 

***

The newly-acquired Saints safety tackles Julio Jones before the Falcons receiver reaches the end zone, forcing a fumble (recovered by Saints cornerback Corey White) and making the Saints’ only positively memorable defensive play of the entire game.

 

***

From CSC.com article

Where Are My Adjustments?

When reviewing the tape, I had almost forgotten that New Orleans took the lead twice in the fourth quarter. Probably because each time, the defense surrendered it. With the Saints leading 27-24, the Falcons started yet another comeback drive from their 6-yard line.

 

***

After the snap, Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (#11, yellow arrow) who is matched up with Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (#28, pink arrow), runs a corner route towards the sideline. Once again, safety Jairus Byrd (#31, blue circle) is 20 yards deep, leaving a big void behind Lewis in the Saints “cover-two zone” coverage.

 

***

With the Saints safeties playing so far away from their linebackers, Ryan (#2, pink circle) has a huge area (purple square) in which he could throw the ball to open receivers. Had Falcons wide receiver Roddy White run an in-route (red arrow), he’d have been as wide open as Jones running his sideline pattern.

 

***

As Jones gets into his break towards the sideline (#11, yellow circle), Byrd (#31, blue circle) is more than 10 yards away from him, as are all the other Saints defenders. It’s an easy pitch-and-catch from Ryan to Jones for a quick 23 yards.

***

From Interesting article on CSC.com

Where in the Name of Jason David

Are My Adjustments???

Later in the drive, now in its no-huddle mode, Atlanta lines up with a 10 personnel (1running back, 0 tight end, 4 wide receivers).

 

***

From the Coaches Film view, we can see that the Saints haven’t adjusted their safety depth and there is still a big hole behind the linebackers. The Falcons smartly run the same intermediate cornerroute, this time from the slot with wide receiver Harry Douglas (#83, yellow arrow).

 

***

Douglas (#83, yellow arrow) easily runs past linebacker David Hawthorne and as the ball arrives, Byrd (#31, blue circle) is, yet again, 10 yards away. The Falcons get another cool 23 yards en route to taking a 31-27 lead.

 

***

Whether it came from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s game plan or his players own tendencies, the Saints safeties (and New Orleans’ secondary in general) gave way too much respect to the Atlanta Falcons receivers. Kenny Vaccaro, Jairus Byrd and to a lesser extent Rafael Bush were all more spectators than actors in this game. The paltry amount of tackles they amassed in the game where almost all made after a healthy yardage gain by Falcons receivers.

After re-watching the game, it is almost surprising that the Falcons “only” gained 568 yards, given how much room Atlanta’s pass catchers were given once they were past the Saints cornerbacks and linebackers.

Now, if you are a Saints fan, I have some (potential) good news: for the next three or four years, the Saints defensive front four is highly unlikely to have as bad a game as they just had in the Georgia Dome. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is probably still wondering who were these impostors posing as Saints defensive ends. You know, these guys who lightly grazed Ryan’s jersey each time he dropped back to pass and gave him enough time to make a sandwich back there.

The Saints defense got a pretty sizable chunk of humble pie shoved down their throat in Atlanta. Let’s hope that the indigestion they got from it made them mad enough to take out their frustration on Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer and Cleveland’s offensive line this coming Sunday. Let’s face it, if by the end of the next game Hoyer has looked like a Hall of Famer, it might be time to press the panic button and bar Rob Ryan from going to Ms. Mae’s until the defense is fixed.

Until then, it was only one (bad) game.

Mr. Consistency

Former NFL running back Marshall Faulk has posed a question to all SB Nation NFL writers, asking who will be each team’s most consistent player this season. Unfortunately, Marshall’s going to have to come up with tougher questions in the future because this one is easy.

Drew Brees has been the most consistent player in New Orleans since he first arrived in 2006. Which is exactly what you want in your starting quarterback. Fans can always depend on Brees, year in and year out, to throw a ton of yards, rack up lots of touchdowns, and lead the team to success.

Does he have a bad game here and there? Absolutely. But who doesn’t? As far as the big picture is concerned, Brees has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL over the past seven or eight years. I wouldn’t expect anything to change in 2014.

MNF picks

Monday, September 8th - Monday Night Football

Giants at Lions

Detroit may be one of the NFL’s biggest enigmas coming into this season.  Neither a freefall into mediocrity or a return to double digit wins would be the least bit surprising from this team.  The Giants on the other hand, are my pick to be one of the NFC’s surprise teams in 2014.  As unsurprising as their 2013 floundering was, their return to the playoffs in 2014 should be equally unsurprising.  Giants win an aerial show in Motown.

Pick: Giants

***

Chargers at Cardinals

This will be the season that having Carson Palmer as their starter will catch up to Arizona.  The Cardinals will turn in one of the NFL’s most disappointing seasons in 2014.  Philip Rivers will continue his remarkable return from the edge this season.

Pick: Chargers

Working the cap: Junior Galette

METAIRIE, La. – The contract numbers are in on the New Orleans Saints’ new deal with linebacker Junior Galette. As previously reported, the four-year extension through 2019 includes $41.5 million in new money. That could increase to as much as $48 million if Galette reaches 12 sacks this season. 

The deal is worth a total of $45.5 million to $52 million over six years. 

Galette received a $3.5 million signing bonus. His 2014 salary-cap number increases from $2.9 million to $2.95 million. 

The big jump comes next year, when Galette is due a guaranteed roster bonus of $12.5 million, vaulting his cap number to $15.45 million. It’s always possible, however, that the Saints could convert that roster bonus to a signing bonus to spread out the cap hit if they decide to go that route. 

Here’s the yearly breakdown of Galette’s new deal, provided by ESPN Stats & Information: 

2014 
Signing bonus: $3.5 million 
Base salary: $750,000 (fully guaranteed) 
Roster bonus: $500,000 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Cap number: $2.95 million 

2015 
Base salary: $1.25 million (guaranteed for injury; becomes fully guaranteed on 3rd day of league year) 
Roster bonus 1: $500,000 (from previous contract) 
Roster bonus 2: $12.5 million (fully guaranteed) 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Cap number: $15.45 million 

2016 
Base salary: $5 million (guaranteed for injury; becomes fully guaranteed on 3rd day of league year) 
Roster bonus: $2.5 million (if he has 12 sacks in 2014 and on roster on 3rd day of league year) 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Cap number: $5.8 million 

2017 
Base salary: $5.2 million ($2 million guaranteed if on roster on 3rd day of league year and has fewer than 12 sacks in 2014) 
Roster bonus 1: $1.5 million (if he has 12 sacks in 2014 and still on roster on 3rd day of league year) 
Roster bonus 2: $500,000 ($31,250 per game active) 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Cap number: $6.5 million 

2018 
Base salary: $6.4 million 
Roster bonus 1: $500,000 
Roster bonus 2: $500,000 ($31,250 per game active) 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Escalator: $1.3 million with 12 sacks in 2014 and on 53-man, IR or PUP each week of prior season 
Cap number: $8.2 million 

2019 
Base salary: $7.3 million 
Roster bonus 1: $500,000 
Roster bonus 2: $500,000 ($31,250 per game active) 
Workout bonus: $100,000 
Escalator: $1.2 million with 12 sacks in 2014 and on 53-man, IR or PUP each week of prior season 
Cap number: $8.4 million

Sunday night game

Sunday Night Football

Colts at Broncos

Denver will begin the season on a mission to erase the jarring memory of being decimated in the Super Bowl.  Indy will take their lumps now before turning the tables on Denver come playoff time.

Pick: Broncos

Saints Milestones for 2014

This is is the 30th season of the Tom Benson era. Perfect time to commemorate that with another Super Bowl win. Just in case you some of you didn’t realize, the Saints won their first Super Bowl capping off Tom Benson’s 25th season of owning the club.

Lucky 13 - If Saints win the Super Bowl this year they will be one of only 13 teams in the NFL to have 2 or more SB wins. Also, their playoff record will move above .500 from 7-9 to 10-9 (or, 11-9 if they’re a wildcard or division winner without a bye).

Note: Atlanta is one of 13 teams to NEVER win a Super Bowl. HA!

And keeping in line with Falcons hate week….

Last season the Saints passed the Falcons in all-time wins for a franchise even though Atlanta had a one season head start in 1966.

317-400-5 Saints

316-414-6 Falcons

Since 1985 when Benson rescued the team from the Dark Ages of the Mecom years, the Saints are winners while, of course, the Failclowns are losers.

239-224 Saints (.516)

209-252-2 Falcons (.454)

Also, this week, because the Saints have OWNED the Falcons during the Payton/Brees era with a 13-3 record, Falcons fans have been yapping about having the all-time series lead at 46-43 (47-43 with a playoff victory). But, since Benson took over the team in 1985 things look considerably different.

11-21 Mecom Era (Falcons lead)

32-25 Benson Era (Saints lead)

So, basically, the Falcons cleaned up on the Saints during the period when they had the worst winning percentage in the entire NFL (.311). But, since then, the Saints have the upper hand. And that is despite the nightmare of the Ditka years.

Wait, Falcons fans have the audacity to say that Saints fans are living in the past? Yeah, ok. Keep bragging about that slim 3-4 game lead. Because it’s disappearing faster than Arthur Blank’s patience with Mike Smith.

DREW BREES - That midget just keeps on rolling

487 completions to move past Dan Marino into 3rd place all-time

452 passing attempts to move past John Elway into 4th place all-time

395 passing yards to move past John Elway and into 4th place all-time

37 passing TDs to be only the 4th QB in NFL history with a least 400 TD passes

9 wins means the Saints would not only have another winning season but Brees will also move past John Unitas and Joe Montana into 7th place in all-time wins by a starting QB.

PIERRE THOMAS - New role?

PT’s role in the Saints offense is suppose to change this year with younger RBs Ingram and Robinson getting most of the carries and Thomas being even more involved in the passing game. If so, he can blow his way past a few guys on the all-time Saints list in receiving.

4 receiving Yds to move past Dalton Hilliard for most in a career by a RB

6 receiving TDs to move past Darren Sproles for most in a career by a RB

13 receptions to move past Reggie Bush for most in a career by a RB

18 receptions to become only the 7th Saints player with 300+ receptions

28 receptions to move past Danny Abramowicz into 5th place

65 receptions to move past Lance More into 4th place (most likely 5th place because Jimmy should get there first)

Thomas also needs 642 yards rushing to move past Dalton Hilliard into 3rdplace on the all-time Saints rushing list behind Deuce and George Rogers. Not sure if he’ll get enough carries to make it this season. Unless Ingram sucks again. Or, is injured. Again.

But, he only needs 3 rushing TDs to move past Tony Galbreath and Chuck Muncie into 3rd place on the all-time list behind Deuce and Dalton Hilliard which seems very likely even with his adjusted role in the offense.

JIMMY GRAHAM

Lil’ Jimmah, in only his 5th season with the team, is rising up the all-time Saints receiving list with a bullet.

46 receptions to move past Lance Moore into 4th place

10 receiving TDs to move past Joe Horn into second place behind Marques Colston

1013 receiving Yds to move past Danny Abramowicz into 4th place.

On the all-time NFL list for TEs Graham is currently 60th with 301 receptions. If he has another season like 2011, He can vault past 30 players and crack the elite 400 barrier in receptions this season.

MARQUES COLSTON

Colston is already #1 in all three receiving categories (Recs, Yds, TDs) in Saints history. This season he can move that much closer to joining the NFL’s 700 club of 42 players with at least 700 receptions in their career. At 607, unless he duplicates his rookie season, he won’t reach that milestone until next season. But, if he stays healthy, he can knockout most of those catches this season.

CAM and JUNIOR - “Well, they’re movin’ on up!”

Not to the east side, but these young players are making their way up the list of all-time Saints leaders in Sacks. Both are tied with 21.5 sacks for their Saints career. If each player racks up at least 8.5 sacks this season, they would vault 4 spots and join the ranks of players in Saints history with at least 30 career sacks. Currently, there are only 12 and they would be tied for thirteenth. Okay, so which one will be the first to grab that spot behind Bruce Clark?

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