Let’s reflect on Saints’ good, bad, ugly free agents

Ed Daniels    As NFL free agency approaches, it is time for a walk down black-and-gold memory lane.
    Who are the five best and worst Saints’ free agent signings?
    The top five start with perhaps the greatest free agent signing in NFL history. With Drew Brees at quarterback, the Saints have won a Super Bowl, made two NFC Championship Games appearances and four playoff appearances.
    Wide receiver Joe Horn had 53 catches in four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. As a Saint, he totaled at least 83 receptions in four different seasons. In 2004, Horn caught 94 passes, 11 for touchdowns, and averaged 14.9 yards per catch.
    Safety Darren Sharper was the defensive catalyst for the 2009 Super Bowl champions. He intercepted nine passes, three returned for touchdowns. And Sharper set an NFL record with 376 return yards.
    When Jim Mora came to the Saints in 1986, he brought linebacker Sam Mills with him. Mills made four Pro Bowl appearances and was the anchor of the “Dome Patrol,” voted by the NFL Network as the greatest linebacker corps in the history of the NFL.
    Linebacker Vaughan Johnson, another Dome Patrol member, joined the Saints in 1984 in a supplemental draft of the USFL and CFL. Johnson started 98 games in seven seasons and earned four consecutive Pro Bowl honors.
    Our list of the bottom five includes wide receiver Albert Connell. In 2001, the Saints signed Connell to a five-year, $13 million contract. Connell was cut in December 2001 after the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department was called to investigate a theft of money in the locker room from Deuce McAllister. He never played again in the NFL.
    Linebacker Andre Royal was signed in 1998. He promptly was involved in an altercation in a Bourbon Street nightclub and admitted his part in a hazing incident at Saints training camp in La Crosse, Wis. Royal also got in a shouting match with head coach Mike Ditka on the practice field at training camp.
    Royal never played a regular season game for the Saints. He was traded in August 1998 to the Colts for tight end Scott Slutzker.
    Offensive tackle Tootie Robbins was cut after the conditioning run at Saints training camp in 1993 – but not before he pocketed a $500,000 reporting bonus.
    The final two spots on the worst free agent signings list belong to kickers. The Saints cut John Carney after he made 92 percent of his field goal attempts in 2006. The Saints wanted more distance on their kickoffs.
    The Saints then signed Olindo Maré, who made 10-of-17 field goal attempts. Maré left for Seattle, where he made 88 percent of his attempts over a period of three years.
    When the Saints cut Morten Andersen, they made one of the biggest blunders in team history. His replacement in 1995 was Chip Lohmiller. Lohmiller made 8-of-14 field goal attempts and 11-of-13 PATs.
    I know what you’re thinking. How could you leave safety Tebucky Jones or quarterback Steve Walsh off such a list? Sorry, they were both acquired via trade.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org.

Site Administrator

➤ Lloyd Robichaux | Site Administrator | Art Director | Webmaster | lrobichaux@clarionherald.org | (504) 596-3024 | Fax: (504) 596-3020

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.