Saints Pull A “Crazy Ivan” For 2016 Free Agency


If you’ve ever seen the movie The Hunt For Red October then the term “Crazy Ivan” will make sense to some of you — and if not, it’s pretty simple.

It’s a maneuver used by submarines to clear the baffles or ‘blind spots’ behind it, executing a quick turn to catch sneaking enemy submarines unaware and move into an advantageous firing position if need be.

In a nutshell, this seems to be what the Saints might be doing for their 2016 offseason, yet some fans of the team are simply calling it just “plain crazy”.

The organization has filled a few of its own blindspots by re-signing or tendering some of their in-house free agents; bringing back core pieces such as offensive linemen Tim Lelito and Senio Kelemete, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui, cornerback Kyle Wilson, as well as trusted backup quarterback Luke McCown to just name a few.

But this is where things went off script, simply because we were expecting the outside free agency market to make a turn towards the Saints’ favor.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady both carved up new deals for their teams, creating some salary cap space in unexpected moves that quite honestly didn’t seem like that needed to be done.

Jan 3, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) greets head coach Sean Payton moments before their game winning field goal in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Saints won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Saints head coach Sean Payton had said during the NFL Scouting Combine he expected a contract extension to be done with quarterback Drew Brees in a quick fashion.

Surely Brees knew that this extension would alleviate some cap space along with granting him his ability to stay with the beloved team that he holds dear……. right?


Almost just as quickly, Brees’ agent Tom Condon said right at the beginning of free agency that he imagined some discussion would take place in a few weeks.

“A few weeks?!?”, screamed the masses, as the feeding frenzy began on the open market and players that could have been potential Day 1 starters for the Saints were peeling off to other teams like a bad sunburn.

General manager Mickey Loomis put a stop to any hopes that a deal was secretly in the works earlier this week when asked about it by simply stating that Brees was “under contract”.

“Wish lists” of free agents for the team were beginning to be trashed faster than a March Madness bracket and caused frustration abound, admittedly with me being one.

Don’t get me wrong: I knew we weren’t getting any of the high dollar guys, but the Saints have allegedly been in “cap hell” before but yet still seemed to find salvation in the end, but alas that didn’t seem to be the case this go-around.

Nov 8, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Rams 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, they were relegated to simply making calls and inquires on potential players before signing low-dollar deals with kicker Josh Scobee and then eventually snagging linebacker James Laurinaitis to help shore up the defense.

But wait…CRAZY IVAN!!

Payton had stated at the NFL Scouting Combine that they needed to improve on defense and the first major signing of free agency was former Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener with a 5-year, $36 million dollar contract.

More from Drew Brees

A major target the Saints could have landed was former Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan; who signed with the Chicago Bears on a 4-year, $24.5 million dollar contract.

“Oh the humanity!!!”, you might scream to the sky as you tear what little hair you have left out of your head following back to back 7-9 seasons.

But while these moves seem a bit crazy, in reality it’s likely the sanest thing that they can do right now to head into the 2016 season.

One free agent target I had hoped would get a serious look was Laurinaitis’ Los Angeles Rams teammate defensive end Chris Long; who ended up signing with the Patriots for a paltry 1-year, $2 million dollar contract which was a steal and something that the Saints could easily afford.

But what Long mentioned as the reason why he signed for, so low-hit me in the gut as a Saints fan:  he wanted to be with a winning team.

Sadly, New Orleans is no longer the premier destination — for high prized free agents that never leave the building to go on visits with other teams.

It’s no longer the place you can say, “Hey our offense with our elite quarterback can win you games by blistering the opposing defense” or we’ve got a “Domefield Advantage” with a stadium full of rabid fans.

Dec 21, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Empty seats in the at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the first quarter of the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports


I’m already seeing season ticket holders in droves trying to auction off their 2016 tickets on sites like, and the first payment isn’t even due yet.

And as far as the loud fans, I suffered through much of last season in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and you could probably find a louder venue at the Westminster Dog Show as the team dragged themselves to the end.

The Saints apparently are still in the hunt for free agent help, as they are reported to have hosted defensive tackle Nick Fairley on a visit — which I’ll just say has me at “meh” levels right now, but what can you expect when your scrounging through the $5.00 DVD bin at Wal-Mart?

It’s clear that nobody knows exactly what the plans are for the Saints; as they only were said to have $3 million in salary cap space a few days ago, and then ended up signing Laurinatis, linebacker Nate Stupar, along with re-signing McCown and safety Jamarca Sanford.

Next: Saints 2016 Free Agency Grades So Far

The team still needs to have cash in the bank to sign their rookie draft class, so there has got to be another “Crazy Ivan” coming unless everybody is getting paid in shrimp po-boys as their signing bonus.

Hope is being held out by fans that this means that a deal is getting done with Brees, but with the ever ridiculous amounts of money being given to unproven quarterbacks like the Houston Texans Brock Osweiler ($37 million guaranteed), or vets like Flacco ($44 million guaranteed), it would be shocking if both sides just don’t ride out the rest of the 2016 contract.

Yes — it’s depressing to see what is perceived to be such a boring or “ho-hum” offseason for the Saints, but to keep the ship from taking on anymore water and sinking, it’s the only move they really have left……………