“Strong Chance” The Saints Allow C Brian De La Puente To Leave During Free Agency


Mike Triplett of ESPN.com writes that there’s a “strong chance” the Saints will be forced to allow C Brian De La Puente to depart during free agency.

Triplett does adds that there is a chance De La Puente could be retained if New Orleans can get him for a “very affordable rate.”

The Saints are in a precarious situation given that TE Jimmy Graham and RT Zach Strief will also be free agents in a matter of weeks. One of the issues for the Saints is that they are currently projected to be over the salary cap by close to $12 million, and even though they can free up a good portion of that by releasing DE Will Smith, they will still need more money to keep Graham from testing the open market.

That means Strief and De La Puente are at best the No. 2 and 3 priorities this offseason.

De La Puente, 28, was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 12 center in the league this season. He held up well in pass-protection, but struggled to be effective in the run game.

He joins a fairly deep class of free agent centers that includes: Alex Mack (CLE)Evan Dietrich-Smith (GB)Roberto Garza (CHI)Dominic Raiola (DET) and Jonathan Goodwin (SF)


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