Recapping Free Agency Weekend

Posted: March 5, 2008 in Saints

The Saints had a busy first weekend in free agency picking up some guys in key positions.

The Saints started by aquiring Jonathan Vilma from the New York Jets to upgrade at linebacker.

Vilma, 25, was selected by the Jets with the 12th pick overall (first round) in the 2004 NFL Draft and earned the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honor for his 118-tackle, three-interception, two-sack season. The 6-1, 230-pound graduate of the University of Miami has started every regular season game (55) but two that he has played over the past four seasons while with the Jets (2004-2007), as well as starting all three playoff games he appeared in while a member of the Jets.

The Saints renewed the contracts of Brian Young and Mark Simoneau for them to return next year. Brian Young is a good renewal, Mark Simoneau is not.

The Saints also picked up Randall Gay, a New England Patriot and former LSU Tiger. He’s no Asante Samuel, but I should give him a chance; he came from New England.

Gay, a native of Baton Rouge, La. and a product of Louisiana State, signed with the Patriots as rookie free agent in 2004 and despite missing portions of the 2005 and 2006 seasons due to injuries, returned to play in all 19 of the Patriots’ games in 2007, making three starts. The 25-year old Gay (5-foot-11, 190-pounds) has tallied 85 tackles, 14 passes defensed and five interceptions over the course of his four-year career. In 2007, Gay posted career-highs in tackles (37), passes defensed (seven) and interceptions (three).

The Saints also agreed to terms with Henderson, Stecker, and Patten. David Patten put more speed in the Wide Receiver core and is a good renewal.

The team made one more acquistion over the weekend picking up Jaguars Defensive end Bobby McCray. This should beef up the D-line nice.

McCray, 6-6, 262-pounds, was one of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting defensive ends the past two seasons and ranks tied for seventh in franchise history with DT Marcus Stroud, who was recently traded to the Buffalo Bills, with 22 career sacks. A seventh-round pick out of the University of Florida by Jacksonville in 2004, McCray has played in 61 regular season games during his four-year career and recorded 94 tackles, 22 sacks and seven forced fumbles. The 26-year old native of Homestead, Fla. registered a career-high 10 sacks in 2006. In addition, McCray has played in three career playoff games, starting both the AFC Wild Card and AFC Divisional Playoff games the Jaguars advanced to in 2007, while also appearing in an AFC Wild Card game in 2005.

“Bobby is a player we identified as being able to come in and help us in the defensive line rotation,” said Loomis. “He is a player that is quick off the edge and has displayed a penchant for being able to generate pressure on the quarterback and be disruptive in passing situations.”

The Saints are rumored to go after Jeremy Shockey of the New York Giants. Check back here for an update.

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