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2014 Saints Position Breakdowns: Running Backs

The Saints are deep at running back and the big question coming into 2014 is whether or not they will continue to keep as many with the cap issues that surround the team. Sean Payton has always said "you can't ever have too many good backs", but when so many of them are cheap and your team is right up against the cap, you can't always afford to keep the more expensive ones. Already gone is Darren Sproles. Beyond that the odd man out, if there is one, could be Pierre Thomas. The Saints could clear ~$3 million worth of cap space by cutting him loose without any penalty. That's a hard thing to do, though, when you consider how much Thomas has meant to the team over the years. And the thing is, he's still good and living up to the contract he carries currently. He's unquestionably the most versatile and trustworthy of the bunch, and he had a significant impact in the Super Bowl title run.  He's been shopped in a trade, per Adam Schefter. So we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Currently on the roster: Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson, Pierre ThomasTravaris Cadet, Austin Johnson (FB)

Free Agents: Jed Collins (restricted), Darren Sproles (released)

Other than a possible re-structure or release of anyone currently on the team, the Saints don't have to do much work at this position in the offseason. That is, if they view Travaris Cadet as the replacement for Sproles. If they decide to part ways with Pierre Thomas, though, that could change. I fully expect the team to offer Jed Collins a low restricted tender and retain him. I would be shocked if Collins does not return to the Saints in 2014. 

Beyond that, I fully expect the Saints to add another undrafted rookie runner or two that will turn some heads in preseason and have a legitimate shot at making the roster. At this point after seeing it with Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson it's starting to feel like a yearly training camp right of passage. Don't rule out the Saints drafting a back in the mid rounds if they lose Thomas, but in the past the Saints have had success finding capable players after the draft so they are more likely to go that route again. And the team could always add a veteran in free agency provided they come CHEAP.