View Full Version : Saints still working on trade from Howard

Mr. Laz
03-25-2005, 01:20 PM
Saints still working on trade from Howard

NEW ORLEANS - Defensive end Darren Howard is a great football player. He just may be too costly for the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints designated Howard as their franchise free agent last month. He signed the qualifying tender offer that guarantees him a base salary of $7.8 million in 2005.

The Saints, who are $5.4 million under the $85.5 million salary cap, would like to deal Howard to clear room on the cap. All of Howard's $7.8 million salary would be taken off the books if he is dealt, and with a pair of talented ends on the roster -- Charles Grant and Will Smith -- he is considered expendable.

A number of teams have expressed interest, with the Dallas Cowboys considered the front runner. But if a trade is to be worked out, it must be before the NFL draft April 23-24, coach Jim Haslett said.

"Darren is a heck of a football player, and we would love to keep him on our team," Haslett said as the Saints wrapped up their first week of offseason work. "But if we could get equal value for him or if there is somebody out there that we feel would give us equal value, then we will always look to make our team better."

Howard almost guarantees the Saints at least 12 sacks a year, Haslett said. He can rush inside and outside and is good against the run, Haslett said.

"I still think Darren is one of our best, if not our best defensive player," Haslett said.

All the Saints players expected to be at the offseason conditioning sessions that started Monday were there, said strength and conditioning coach Rock Gullickson. Several were allowed to report late. Tight end Boo Williams had an illness in his family and reported Thursday. Offensive linemen Wayne Gandy and Kendyl Jacox are due in Monday.

Wide receiver Joe Horn, whose contract expires after this season, considered skipping the workouts until he received an extension, but changed his mind and was at camp.

"Joe Horn has had a great first week," Gullickson said. "That is a real positive influence on the team. The guys really look up to him and I think Joe is going to help us greatly in that area."

Even Johnathan Sullivan, the overweight former first-round draft pick, came to town slimmed down.

Sullivan, who sat out much of the last two seasons because of his weight and lack of conditioning, reported 12 pounds slimmer than last year, but still 22 pounds heavier than the Saints would like him to be.

And Sullivan won't be able to lift weights for at least another four weeks after severing a tendon in his left hand in a household accident.

"He is getting better," Gullickson said. "One of the philosophies that I have always held true is that you give a guy three years in your program and you should see some sign at that point where things are going to be good or not so good. We are kind of at that point this year."

Sullivan is a major talent, said Haslett, who traded up to the sixth pick in the 2003 draft to select him. He could be a top player in the league if he worked at it, Haslett said. The question is -- will he?

"You know the old saying that you can lead the cow to the trough, but you can't make him drink the water," Haslett said. "We will do everything possible we can as coaches that we need to do to get this kid to help us win football games and that is our goal this year."

the Talking Can
03-25-2005, 02:05 PM
I'd take him.

03-25-2005, 02:15 PM
Why in the world would you do that? I mean I know you want compensation for him but really they should have let him go via FA and then got the compensatory pick next year...my intuition (which sucks right about now) says this guy is going to end up staying in N.O. and they are gonna be sorry they tagged him

03-25-2005, 03:38 PM
Considering the way the Chiefs draft and how Carl usually can't get first round picks signed before late August I'd be happy if the Chiefs traded all their draft picks away for impact players like Howard and Surtain.