Even if there is a labor lockout and no free-agency period or a delayed signing period, the New Orleans Saints could make a key free-agent pickup.
They’re in the market for defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. He has visited New Orleans after also making visits to the Redskins and Chiefs. Rogers is available to sign now because he was released by the Cleveland Browns last week and isn’t subject to the rules of free agency.
Rogers, 31, became more of a role player with Cleveland last year, but he was a strong inside force earlier in his career. At 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, Rogers could give the Saints a run-stuffer in the middle, and he also has shown some ability as a pass-rusher.
The Saints started Sedrick Ellis and Remi Ayodele at defensive tackle last season and Anthony Hargrove rotated in frequently. Ellis is a player on the rise, but Ayodele hasn’t had a big impact. Ayodele and Hargrove both could be free agents.
Rogers has had some off-field troubles, and his practice habits have been criticized at times. But the Saints could be a good fit. They’ve taken on troubled players like Hargrove and tight end Jeremy Shockey in the past and both worked out. That’s largely because coach Sean Payton has a tight grip on his locker room and the Saints have strong veteran leadership that seems to keep most players in line.