Saints fans know Drew Brees is headed for retirement, but who else will be leaving New Orleans before the start of the 2021 regular season?
The Saints desperately want to send Drew Brees into retirement with one more Super Bowl championship in his trophy case. His impending retirement means changes are certainly coming for New Orleans this offseason. The team’s nightmare of a cap sheet moving forward means the front office will need to make some very tough choices.
The team currently projects to have over $278 million in salary cap obligations for the 2021 season. Taking Brees off the cap sheet will remove over $36 million. That still leaves New Orleans with miles to go before they get under next year’s salary cap no matter where it ultimately ends up.
Sean Payton isn’t the sort of coach who will be willing to take a step back in terms of his on-field product, but threading the needle is going to be a massive challenge for the Saints the moment their offseason begins. Fans in New Orleans should expect the following three players to leave for more money when free agency begins.
Payton and his staff are married to the idea that Taysom Hill will take over for Brees in 2021. The team might have interest in bringing Winston back as an insurance policy, but he’ll be looking for a clearer path towards a starting spot in free agency.
That might not actually be in Winston’s best interest in terms of career development, but he likely doesn’t feel a ton of loyalty to the Saints after losing out to Hill when Brees went down during the regular season. He’s going to head into free agency looking for a chance to start and the biggest paycheck possible. New Orleans will lose out in both regards. That means Payton will be looking elsewhere for a new quarterback to develop behind Hill this offseason.