If almost makes me sad that I can't add Tebucky Jones to this list (otherwise known as "TeSUCKY") because he was acquired by trade. I remember when the Saints landed him everyone acted like he would fix the defense and instead the Saints got the most inept and incapable football player I have ever seen. You think Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins look bad? Tebucky Jones puts both of them to shame. Anyway, I digress, with free agency about to start I figured I'd go back and give you some of the best and worst moments in Saints' history as it pertains to free agency. Plan B free agency started in 1989 and full blown free agency around '92-'93, so you don't have to look as far back for this exercise and I'm old enough that I remember all these pick ups very well. We'll start with the 10 worst:
10. Eric Allen, CB, 1995: It's not that Eric Allen was a bad player for the Saints, he was fine. It was the expectations that came along with him. When the Saints signed Eric Allen, he was fresh off 5 Pro Bowls in 7 seasons with the Eagles. I was pumped to get him and assumed he'd be an instant superstar. But after 34 interceptions in 7 seasons in Philly, he had only 5 interceptions in 3 years with the Saints. Of course, he then went to the Raiders and had 14 interceptions in 4 seasons. So he just sucked with the Saints. He did make the Pro Bowl in one of his three seasons with the Saints, but that was mostly due to name recognition rather than actual performance. He was a disappointment.
9. Billy Joe Tolliver, QB, 1998: Many fans mock the "Billy Joe" era where the Saints had both Billy Joe Tolliver and Billy Joe Hobert on the roster. In Hobert's defense, he was a decent player, but he was constantly injured and by the time he saw the field again he just couldn't put together good performances due to health. Tolliver was just terrible. He finished with 15 touchdowns and 20 interceptions as a Saint.
8. Orlando Ruff, LB, 2003: The Saints signed Ruff to be their lockdown middle linebacker and he was garbage for two seasons, struggling to crack the starting lineup.
7. Jake Reed, WR, 2002: You'll read more about Dale Carter below in a second, but Reed was Carter's brother and he was signed to basically babysit Carter. Reed did have a nice resume with 9 great NFL seasons including going over 1,000 yards four times in Minnesota. At 33 it was unlikely he'd contribute that much at receiver. He was predictably useless in that department likely due to his age, but most disappointing was he failed at his one job of keeping Dale Carter in line.
6. Grady Jackson, NT, 2002:: He was a mammoth at 350 pounds and after a solid stint with the Raiders people felt he'd make a serious impact against the run. He could never control his weight and only last two years with the Saints, though. He learned the nickname "Gravy" for his commitment to eating
5. Rufus Porter, LB, 1995: Porter was a superstar for seven seasons with the Seahawks, including two Pro Bowls. He played two years with the Saints and was a complete disaster on the fied. He contributed 3 sacks in 2 years, his supposed best asset.
4. Chip Lohmiller, K, 1995: Lohmiller had been a Pro Bowl kicker for the Super Bowl Champion Redskins at one point, so he also came to the Saints with high expectations. You'll notice that three of the top four guys on this list were former Redskins – so thanks to them for hooking us up. Lohmiller was supposed to provide a stabilizing force in the kicking game, and instead he struggled on extra points. He went 8 for 14 on field goals and missed two extra points before being cut at midseason. Of course, he'd go 21 for 25 for the Rams the following season.
3. Dale Carter, CB, 2002: Dale Carter was the crowning jewel of Jim Haslett's free agent signings and the staff constantly talked about him being a "shut down corner" that cut the field in half and completely changed the game for the Saints in a good way. Carter has a huge question mark, though, because of his life history with subtance abuse that had landed him in rehab and even jail countless times. There is no doubt that in his prime when he was right, though, he was elite. In two years with the Saints he had just 1 interception and 15 games played, some missed due to injury and others due to testing positive for alcohol (the NFL had a zero tolerance policy due to his number of failed drug tests). He had originally signed a 7 year, $28 million deal with the Saints. What a joke that was. He was suspended indefinitely at one point for having traces of alcohol in his system. Going back to Jake Reed – that was the only reason he was signed – to keep Carter off party stuff.
2. Albert Connell, WR, 2001: He was signed to a 5 year $13 million contract and supposed to be the next superstar wide receiver for the Saints. Instead, he caught just 12 passes in 11 games for the Saints before being released for stealing $4000 from Deuce McAllister's locker. Seriously. He'd never play again after that.
1. Heath Shuler, QB, 1997: The Saints under Mike Ditka gave Shuler a 7 year $19.5 million contract, which at the time was astronomical, to be their quarterback of the future. At 26, Heath Shuler would play just one season with the Saints, throwing for 2 touchdown and 14 interceptions. He'd then retire due to a turf toe injury. I'm pretty sure the Saints will never top this.
Did I miss anybody? Any memories to share on these clowns?