With the new league year now underway, there are a lot of new storylines across the league and the New Orleans Saints are near the epicenter of several rumors as the tampering period officially began.
With in mind, let’s take a look at all of the big news concerning the black and gold
Benson’s Big Donation
Over the weekend Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson announced he would donate $100,000 to workers at the Smoothie King Center due to the suspension of play in the NBA after the coronavirus postponed the 2019-20 season. Fast forward to Monday and Gayle Benson announced that she has personally donated $1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund.
“We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA’s announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole,” said Benson. “The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, an enormous impact on our community and businesses of all sizes. We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community. We are grateful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for their efforts in helping us get these funds to those in our community facing hardship due to the residual impact of COVID-19.”
Apart from that, Benson also established an Arena Assistance Fund for those who are impacted by the NBA postponement of games. Noting that the employees at the arena are not all Pelicans employees, the policy and implementation of the fund will be in coordination with the Louisiana Stadium Exposition District (LSED) and ASM New Orleans.
Furthermore, all wages for Pelicans employees who work game days only will be guaranteed for the remaining postponed games.
Onyemata Staying; AJ Klein Going
While the first day of NFL free agency saw a lot of big moves, the Saints took a different approach and only made one move on Monday and that was signing David Onyemata to a new contract.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Onyemata agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract with the Saints; ESPN’s Mike Triplett added that the deal includes $18 million guaranteed, meaning Onyemata will be a big part of the Saints defense for at least the next two years.
It’s a solid get for the Saints considering how much players like Deforest Buckner ($21 million) and Arik Armstead ($17 million) locked down after their great 2019 season.
Meanwhile the Saints also lost out on one of their best defensive players in veteran AJ Klein. Klein signed a deal worth $18 million over three years for the Buffalo Bills. Klein, who is guaranteed to earn $9.7 million in this contract, has a history with Bills coach Sean McDermott as he was a DC for the Panthers while Klein was there.
Brees Nearing Deal
After Drew Brees announced he was coming back for another season in the NFL, it was almost a formality to say that the veteran would be returning for the Saints franchise. It’s the easiest pick when it comes to the wild QB carousel of this off-season, but nothing has been done yet.
That being said, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports mentioned that the two parties are close to a new deal and will be agreed upon by Tuesday. The exact details are unknown but there will likely be a hometown discount to keep the NFL’s all-time passing leader in the crescent city.