The Arizona Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints 42-34 on Thursday. The Saints are a disappointing 2-5 through seven contests and are swiftly heading toward a lost campaign. Their postseason aspirations have dwindled. The nature of the situation may force Saints general manager Mickey Loomis to consider acquiring future draft capital ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline.
It’s worth acknowledging several of the Saints’ high-end players are difficult to trade due to never-ending contract restructuring, which welcomes sizable cap hits and dead cap figures. Other talents are still viewed as critical pieces of Loomis’ roster-building process. Michael Thomas and Marshon Lattimore aren’t realistic trade candidates.
The Saints still possess several intriguing talents that should attract interest. Acquiring mid-to-late round selections could prove to be fruitful for the Saints. We’ve swiftly identified three players the Saints may consider trading.
Wide receiver Marquez Callaway may lose influence in New Orleans’ offense after being at fault for a backbreaking pick-six interception on Thursday. A deep speed threat that stresses opposing defenses, Callaway is a useful weapon in today’s pass-happy league. Callaway isn’t being appropriately utilized in the Saints’ trigger-shy offense. Callaway is averaging a career-low 10.1 yards per reception.
Still just 24 years old, Callaway is primed to become a restricted free agent this coming offseason. Callaway’s future in New Orleans remains unclear. The Saints may consider acquiring draft capital in exchange for Callaway’s services before being forced to make a difficult decision in restricted free agency. Callaway should intrigue several Super Bowl contenders who are aiming to field more explosive offenses ahead of the postseason.
Marcus Davenport is probably the Saint who would garner the largest return via trade. A former first-round selection, the Saints wisely exercised the fifth-year option on Davenport’s contract, which guaranteed him a salary of $9.5 million for the 2022 campaign. The Saints later restructured Davenport’s contract by converting over $8 million of his 2022 salary into a signing bonus.
Davenport now finds himself in the middle of a contract season. Davenport has recorded just 0.5 sacks this campaign, but the former UTSA standout has also totaled 15 hurries and 20 pressures, via Pro Football Focus. He’s been a consistent force as both a run defender and pass rusher. Davenport accumulated a career-high 9.0 sacks in 2021.
Davenport has a fairly manageable figure of $10.6 million in dead money attached to his contract. It’s only considered prohibitive if the Saints don’t receive a worthwhile offer. Davenport, who may depart the cash-strapped Saints in unrestricted free agency, would bolster the defense of most Super Bowl contenders. Quarterback hunters cost a premium and Davenport could fetch a second-or-third round selection.
Any trade involving Saints cornerback Bradley Roby would be dependent on his health. Roby was injured in Thursday’s defeat to the Cardinals. If healthy, Roby is a low-cost option that would upgrade the depth of most secondaries around the league.
Roby first arrived in New Orleans ahead of the 2021 campaign via a trade with the Houston Texans. Roby has played quality football for the Saints at times, but Loomis has drafted several cornerbacks as of late. Roby has been routinely outplayed by sophomore third-round selection Paulson Adebo. The Saints also drafted Alontae Taylor in 2022, who played every defensive snap against the Cardinals.
Roby played a season-low five snaps on Thursday. His influence in New Orleans’ defense has dwindled. Roby leads the Saints in missed tackle percentage this season (16.7%), per PFF. A change of scenery would benefit all parties involved.