The Saints look like a much more improved team on paper heading into 2022 after a star-studded offseason, but the concern is rising among their fans as of late.
From the beginning to the middle of the 2022 NFL offseason, the Saints made some splashes in free agency. The signing of one of — if not the best safety in the NFL — Tyrann Mathieu, and another solid safety in Marcus Maye more than made up for the loss of Marcus Williams to the Ravens earlier in the year. The defense wasn’t the only side of the ball that was addressed as the Saints traded up to draft wide receiver Chris Olave and offensive lineman Trevor Penning at the draft. They also signed former pro-bowler Jarvis Landry.
The fun didn’t stop there, though. News broke that Michael Thomas was looking great in camp and feeling healthy, a great sign for fans who have been waiting the better part of two years for their WR1 to hit the field again. Jameis Winston had also been recovering well from his ACL injury from last season. He started developing early chemistry with his first-round rookie and showed signs of hope for an offense that desperately needed them.
Hopefully, A Bump In The Road Won’t Derail The Saints In 2022
After the great news about Michael Thomas, he was pulled from the remainder of the preseason due to a minor hamstring injury. Saints fans could exhale hearing that it was minor, yet still, raise a brow at Thomas facing yet another health concern.
New Orleans already lost not only their best — but one of the league’s best — offensive linemen, Terron Armstead, to the Dolphins this year, and have now lost their newest addition in the trenches. Rookie offensive tackle, Trevor Penning, out of Northern Iowa, had suffered a foot injury in the team’s last preseason game against the Chargers on August 26. It was initially believed to be a turf toe injury and he would not be out for significant time. However, that was very quickly shut down as it was revealed he had torn a ligament in his foot, sidelining him indefinitely.
Penning was not listed as a day-one starter, but seeing a talented young player starting his career on the sideline is never something anyone wants to see. This injury lessens the depth of an already banged-up unit and weak spot of the team.
Salt In The Wound For Saints Fans Already Concerned About 2022
All offseason the Saints and safety C.J. Garner-Johnson, or how Saints fans know him, Ceedy Duce, were engaged in contract talks. CDJ would still attend camp, but no progress was being made. After said extension talks fizzled out, the team began shopping their third-year safety in trade talks around the league.
On August 30 it was announced via Ian Rapoport that the Eagles had traded for Johnson. Philly sent a 2023 fifth-round and 2024 sixth-round pick for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and a 2025 seventh-round pick.
The fan-favorite DB was going to see a diminished role already with the additions of Mathieu and Maye, but he would still be one of the best Nickel cornerbacks in the game. The Saints still have plenty of depth in the secondary with Bradley Roby and second-round pick out of Tennessee, DB Alontae Taylor, but seeing CDJ go will still be a punch in the gut for WhoDat Nation.
In fans’ eyes, the Eagles just robbed the Saints of a great defensive player and their newest starting safety. If there is any positive that fans can take out of it, is that Ceedy Duce will be getting the contract he deserves.