Saints keep looking toward future

METAIRIE, La. -- It would be easy for the New Orleans Saints to forget about the future.

It would be understandable if they lived only in the present or dwelled on the recent past. After all, the Saints have gone through an offseason that was dominated with off-field distractions related to the bounty scandal and they still are dealing with the consequences. But give general manager Mickey Loomis credit for keeping his eye on the future.

The Saints made a move with big future implications Thursday night. ESPN’s John Clayton reports that punter Thomas Morstead has agreed to a six-year contract worth $21.9 million.

That’s progressive thinking by the Loomis and the Saints. They realize they’ve got one of the game’s best punters (and kickoff specialists) and they now have made sure he’s not going to get close to free agency anytime soon. The Saints made Morstead the league’s second highest paid punter, behind only Oakland’s Shane Lechler, who averages $4 million a year.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Loomis keeps looking ahead and you could see more contract extensions this year. Tight end Jimmy Graham is coming off a huge second season, but is making only the minimum. Graham still has two years on his rookie contract, but the Saints might be wise to make him happy and lock him up for the long term.