The New Orleans Saints have lost a lot this offseason — both in terms of players and members of the coaching staff. Sure, they’ve made a lot of additions, but a lot of continuity has gone out the door in the last two years. At the same time, change is not necessarily a bad thing.
But this team still has gaps to fill. Here’s our take on each of their off-season departures, ranked from least to most significant. The Saints have more work to do to build their roster to get where they want to be in 2023:
S Justin Evans signed by the Philadelphia Eagles
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Snapshots 2022: 391
Evans was a solid backup for the Saints last year but he struggled to defend the spot in a full-time role the team hoped he could fill early in the season. They should get a similar impact from free-agent safeties Lonnie Johnson Jr. and Johnathan Abram, both of whom have signed minimum contracts.
DT Kentavius Street signed by Philadelphian Eagles
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshots 2022: 518
Street was a more effective player at passing downs for the Saints than Malcolm Roach last year, but he slacked too much on run defense and the team didn’t bother to re-sign him. You can probably get similar production from other players on inside rotation.
Cory Robinson, assistant defensive backs coach
In the team since: 2020
Robinson chose not to return after his contract with the Saints expired, but he has not yet been signed for a new gig in the NFL or at the collegiate level. He led the defensive backcourt last offseason and was replaced by veteran coach Marcus Robertson.
Declan Doyle, Denver Broncos assistant tight ends coach
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
In the team since: 2019
Doyle went for a promotion to Sean Payton’s staff, where he gets the opportunity to coach his own position group after working as an assistant in New Orleans. He recently represented the Saints at the Senior Bowl.
WR Marquez Callaway signed by Denver Broncos
The story goes on
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshots 2022: 397
Callaway had a reduced role last season after the additions of Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, Jarvis Landry and the return of Michael Thomas, and the Saints made no effort to re-sign him despite having several options due to his limited free agent Status.
WR Deonte Harty signed by Buffalo Bills
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshots 2022: 24
A turf toe injury earlier in the season put Harty out of action but we’ve seen him play at a very high level both in the second leg and as a major threat. He should do well on the Bills’ high-flying offense. The Saints should be fine if Rashid Shaheed can handle a bigger workload; He brings the same juice and playing skills as Harty at a heavier weight class.
Zach Strief, assistant offensive line coach who was hired by the Denver Broncos
David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP
In the team since: 2021
Strief spent more than a decade in New Orleans as a player and radio analyst before making the leap to coaching, and he’s well-networked his linemen as an assistant. Now he’s departed for a promotion under his old head coach, Sean Payton. The Saints replaced him by hiring former Rams position coach Kevin Carberry and Strief’s former All-Pro teammate Jahri Evans.
Dan Roushar, tight ends coach hired by Tulane Green Wave
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
In the team since: 2013
Before joining the Saints, Roushar was a widely respected offensive-line coach with experience working on the tight end and running back groups at Michigan State College and elsewhere. So it makes sense that Tulane acted quickly to keep him in New Orleans. This season he is training the offensive line of the Green Wave.
Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator and assistant coach
AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman
In the team since: 2021
Richard sparked interest in a couple of defense coordinator jobs earlier in this year’s hiring cycle, but he hasn’t accepted a new job since parting ways with the Saints. It’s kind of odd that he’s still available given his extensive experience in New Orleans, Dallas and Seattle.
DT Shy Tuttle signed by Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshots 2022: 557
Tuttle started in many games in nose tackle alongside David Onyemata and now plays twice a year in Carolina against the Saints. Good for him that he’s earning his payday as a former undrafted free agent. He’s a solid run defender but goes through long stretches without much effect as a pass rusher, which has been a focus for the Saints this spring.
DE Marcus Davenport, signed by the Minnesota Vikings
AP Photo/Derick Hingle
Snapshots 2022: 490
Davenport was the team’s most dynamic pass rusher when he was healthy, but he rarely played at 100%, and he made a big step backwards last season – so much so that he was given a back-up role behind Carl at the end of the year Granderson was demoted. The Saints need to be more productive on the defensive end.
QB Andy Dalton signed by Carolina Panthers
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images
Snapshots 2022: 734
No tears will be shed over Dalton’s departure but he is a good backup and should be viewed as such. He’s done well mentoring younger quarterbacks and making plays while they’re fielded, and his receivers sometimes let him down last year by arming some big throws with alligators. He shouldn’t have started as many games as the Saints asked him to last year, but you could do a lot worse with your No. 2 quarterback.
Ryan Nielsen, co-defensive coordinator and DL coach hired by the Atlanta Falcons
Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini
In the team since: 2017
Nielsen is another former Saints assistant who left town for a promotion, and he’ll be able to call his own defense in Atlanta after receiving a few blank checks to start building the Falcons’ defensive line from scratch. He’s done well as a positional coach, but we’ll see how he fares in an extended role.
LB Kaden Elliss signed by the Atlanta Falcons
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Snapshots 2022: 632
Good for Elliss that he made the most of his opportunity last year and unfortunately landed a starter contract with Atlanta. He will be a problem when he rushes off the edge in Nielsen’s defence. The Saints took a hit on the linebacker with his exit and will need to add another player to the group to make up for it.
DT David Onyemata signed by the Atlanta Falcons
AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Snapshots 2022: 682
Onyemata hasn’t been the same player since his PED suspension in 2021, but he was still the Saints’ top home outfitter and they will miss him. Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders are good free-agent additions, but they might struggle to hit its production even when put together. The Saints need to keep padding their depth chart in defensive tackle, and that could require a high pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
Story originally appeared on Saints Wire